Oh, the things we'd do for beauty. Scratch that; think of the things we actually do for beauty. Sadly, the list is very long. Whether it involves something as harmless as makeup (a little blush never killed anybody), as invasive as plastic surgery, or as outrageous as LED face masks, placenta face cream, and vibrating rose quartz face rollers, humanity's quest for outer beauty is undying.
Those who aren't looking to spend thousands on surgery and cosmetics (us) are constantly looking for the next quick fix for their superficial "flaws." Thankfully, the internet is crawling with oddball tips for achieving eternal youth (whether they work or not).
What is the "mewing" TikTok craze all about?
Mewing is actually very simple. The decades-old practice and red carpet secret involves repositioning the tongue so that it presses against the roof of the mouth while the lips are closed. Additionally, WebMD says to position the front bottom teeth slightly behind the front upper teeth. (We bet you're doing it right now.)
According to Shape, mewing is reportedly named after John Mew, a 95-year-old former U.K. orthodontist. Emphasis on "former."
"He believes children can achieve straighter teeth and better breathing habits using techniques like mewing, arguably instead of traditional treatments like orthodontics or surgery," LA-based dentist Rhonda Kalasho, D.D.S., said, per Shape.
John Mew coined the practice "orthotropics," which focuses on changing the jawline and face shape via oral posture training.
Unfortunately, his dental license was taken away in 2017 "on grounds of misconduct for publicly denigrating the traditional practices of orthodontic tooth movement," as detailed by an article in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
"Specifically, Mew's theory postulates that genetic control of skeletal growth is not precise, but rather, that the articulation of the jaws and teeth is dependent on environmental guidance from the orofacial musculature," the article continues.
Mewing is also allegedly connected to aiding sleep apnea, issues related to breathing and swallowing, speech pathology, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and sinusitis.
The Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery further points out that John Mew's theory isn't based on substantial scientific evidence "that would make it a viable alternative treatment to orthognathic surgery."
But let's be real. Most TikTok users are simply mewing to make their selfies look fierce. In 2023, mewing goals aren't connected to sleep apnea or sinusitis, but rather to looking like Bella Hadid on a budget.
Does mewing come with risks?
When it comes to health, we always recommend seeking out assistance from a medical professional. Let's make that clear. DIY treatments are never the answer.
According to WebMD, excessive mewing may lead to the misalignment of teeth, misalignment of both the upper and lower jaw, TMJ pain, and even loose or chipped teeth. Is a defined jawline really worth having a wonky smile?
And while mewing for a pic or two isn't detrimental, the results are only temporary anyway.
"As an adult, your jaw is fully formed," Dr. Catherine Chang says in a TikTok video. "Placing the tongue at the roof of the mouth does lift floor mouth content so you look better in photos. However, this is only temporary. I wish mewing worked, but it doesn't."
There you have it. Keep the mewing to a minimum, folks. And if you're really concerned with how your jawline looks, TikTok is a world chock-full of contouring tutorials.