Chewing on one side of the mouth is a common habit. Some people tend to chew on one side more than the other without noticing it. However, this can have several adverse effects on your facial aesthetics.
Chewing more on one side than the other can cause facial asymmetry. More importantly, it could predispose you to temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). When dealing with facial asymmetries, you still want to chew evenly on both sides, regardless of where the asymmetry is.
Chewing is such a normal part of our daily lives that we rarely notice our habits when we chew. Yet, we all have certain chewing habits. Some people prefer to chew with the right side of their face and vice-versa. We all have our reasons.
Chewing on one side more than the other will lead to:
- Decreased gonial angle.
- Larger masseter muscle.
- Upward and forward-grown jaw.
For example, if your right side of your jaw is lower than the left side, you probably chew too much with your right side.
However, these personal preferences could impact appearance in a negative way. According to this research paper by Tiwari et al. (2017), unilateral chewing can cause facial asymmetry. This result is due to the prolonged effects of chewing on one side more. 75% of those who displayed differences in facial asymmetry showed differences corresponding to their favored chewing side.
The explanation of this phenomenon needs more in-depth research. But, we can theorize the reasons. It may be due to the mechanical forces constantly present in the chewing process. Our bones are always changing, even when we are past puberty. Bones change in small ways, and they adapt to the circumstances that they are under. Thus, it is a safe assumption to say that unilateral chewing and facial asymmetry has a close relationship.
Is Chewing the Cause or the Result?
Another theory is that facial asymmetry is more than the result of unilateral chewing. Facial asymmetry could be the reason why some people prefer chewing on one side more. When we think of it, it’s a theory that makes sense.
If your jaw is naturally tilted to one side, you will be more likely to act on that side as well, similar to how you prefer using your right or left hand. Of course, the chewing pattern is not that simple. For the most part, we still have to chew using both sides of our mouth and cheeks. But, it does make sense that instead of being the result, facial asymmetry is the cause.
When we look at it through that lens, things get a bit more complex. It can be difficult to assess this in short-term studies, such as the one mentioned above. Currently, there is limited research available on the topic. Hopefully, the future will bring more information on the long-term effects of unilateral chewing. And hopefully, it will also give us an understanding of the complex relationship between chewing and facial asymmetry.
If your concern is whether your facial asymmetry will worsen with a one-sided chewing pattern, the answer is most likely yes. As previously established, chewing on one side of the face more is already linked to worsened facial asymmetry. If you have an already asymmetrical face and fear it getting worse, try to improve your oral posture.
Is Facial Asymmetry Normal?
Facial asymmetry is normal. The average person has barely noticeable asymmetries. Most of us will have an asymmetrical feature here and there. Plus, not all symmetrical faces are attractive.
In theory, it all sounds great when we think of a symmetrical face. But in reality? A completely symmetrical face will look odd and irregular in most situations.
Most of the attractive people we see as models or in movies don’t have completely symmetrical faces. It’s an unrealistic expectation of anyone. But, the asymmetries they have are minor. They are not the visible asymmetry of a wonky face.
Now the above photo is an irregular asymmetry. While there is no shame in it, many people seek to correct their asymmetrical faces. It is all about personal preference. Some will be fine with an asymmetrical face. Some will not.
An asymmetrical face that goes beyond the thresholds of regular asymmetry can be damaging to the quality of life. It can cause self-esteem and confidence issues and affect results with dating and your professional life. Physical appearance has always been important, and now, even more so in the superficial era of Tinder and Instagram.
How to Improve an Asymmetrical Face
Improve Chewing Habits
This alone will not magically fix your face. But it will help a lot in preventing your asymmetry from getting worse. If you continue to engage in imbalanced chewing habits, you will put yourself at risk of TMD, and you can even make your facial asymmetry worse.
You can take one step towards starting to change your chewing habits. There is no proof that it will reverse the damage done. But, you can prevent further asymmetry.
Mewing is a recent trend that has showcased many positive results all over the world. The basis of mewing is proper oral habits and posture. So with mewing, you can fix your chewing habits.
In addition to that, mewing also facilitates the proper growth of the jaw. If you are dissatisfied with how your jaw looks, you lose nothing by dedicating to mewing. The major downside is that it takes a long time to achieve results. We are talking about months to years of constant work to see positive results. That can be too much for some people, so it’s not an easy fix.
You can find a comprehensive article on mewing via our ultimate guide.
One option for fixing asymmetry is dermal fillers. Asymmetry related to chewing will be on the jaw and cheek area. You can opt for strategically placed fillers in those areas. There are fillers available today that are easily reversible. Plus, the entire procedure is quick and has very limited risk.
The downside is the fillers will need to be constantly topped off, which could prove expensive. Also, fillers have been shown to linger for many years, not just months.
Chewing on one side more than the other is normal, most of the time. Little differences and imbalances in chewing are unlikely to make a huge difference in your facial symmetry. Similarly, little changes in your facial symmetry will not matter much out in the real world.
Nearly everyone you meet will have some asymmetry. The chances of you meeting someone with a completely symmetrical face is slim to none. As such, you do not have to worry much about facial asymmetry, especially if it is minor.
Your concern on the matter should begin when the asymmetry is very obvious. In those instances, your asymmetry maybe thanks to your unilateral chewing. But this is only possible if your chewing on one side is more than excessive.
Another possibility is that you chew the way you do because of already existing imbalances in your jaw. In that scenario, the culprit is not the chewing, but the skull shape itself. The chewing is merely a side effect of your already asymmetrical face.
Regardless, you can try to correct your chewing and oral habits. Even if it is not for facial symmetry purposes, you should still exercise proper oral posture. Plus, you will probably put yourself less at risk of TMD if you do so.