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Beware of Mewing

Social media's latest viral trend, known as "mewing," is raising concerns within the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) due to its potential for causing unintended, and potentially harmful, side effects. 

Mewing, named after controversial orthodontist John Mew, a British Orthodontist, who lost his license due to unsupported claims, refers to a set of oral and facial exercises proposed by Dr. John Mew, a British orthodontist. The technique is primarily focused on tongue posture and facial muscle exercises with the goal of achieving proper tongue posture and encouraging facial development. The term "Mewing" itself comes from Dr. Mew's last name.

The central idea behind Mewing is that maintaining the correct tongue posture, which involves placing the tongue against the roof of the mouth, can positively impact facial appearance and contribute to overall health. Advocates of Mewing claim that it can potentially lead to benefits such as improved facial symmetry, jawline definition, and even changes in the appearance of the nose over time. However, it's important to note this unregulated practice lacks scientific backing and carries risks of: 

  • Dental Issues: Chronic pressure from mewing can loosen teeth, misalign bite, and contribute to tooth wear and tear.
  • Speech Impediments: Altered tongue placement can affect speech patterns and clarity, causing slurring or pronunciation difficulties.
  • May require complicated treatment to resolve issues caused from mewing

"While proper tongue posture plays a role in oral health and development, mewing oversimplifies the complexities of facial structure," emphasizes Myron Guymon, DDS. MS, AAO President. "There's no scientific evidence to support its claims of reshaping the jawline, and the potential risks outweigh any unproven benefits."

The relationship between tongue posture, facial development, and overall health is a complex and multifaceted topic. It's crucial to approach these ideas with caution and to recognize that the scientific evidence supporting mewing and its specific impact on dental health is not established. If you have concerns about your oral health, dental alignment, or facial development, it is recommended to consult with a qualified orthodontist. These professionals can provide personalized advice and guidance based on a thorough assessment of your specific situation.