Mewing is not just a process that can improve your appearance and facial structure. It also has a slew of other health benefits.
The health benefits of mewing include, but are not limited to, reduced risk of sleep apnea, increased blood flow, reduced risk of TMD, and a decreased chance of chronic stress. Mewing can also help you resolve breathing and swallowing problems.
Mewing is a concept that challenges traditional orthodontics. Because of this, there is still little research related to tackling these topics. Mewing before/after pictures come only from users posting photos online. The core tenets of mewing are accepted as fact, namely that chewing hard foods and proper oral posture as a kid affects facial structure as an adult. Mewing is only questioned so much because it produces such gradual changes and is hard to quantify, in addition to flying in the face of traditional orthodontic medicine.
Though mewing is primarily used as an aesthetic tool, there are also health benefits that you can gain from it. It is a multilayered process and has a lot of benefits beyond what you can expect superficially. This article will cover those underlying health benefits.
Reduced Risk of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a life-threatening sleeping disorder where breathing stops periodically during sleep. This wakes you up constantly because your brain realizes that you are not getting enough oxygen. This lack of oxygen can disrupt your sleep, and the body cannot fall into the deeper, more restful portions of your sleep cycle. This disruption can affect day to day life. People with sleep apnea tire easily during the day and cannot sleep at night.
So how does mewing help with sleep apnea? Before we get into that, we have to understand what happens during sleep apnea. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Mewing can help with obstructive sleep apnea. During obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the airway relax. When this happens, the throat can fall back, blocking the airway. Because there is no oxygen going to the brain due to a lack of breathing, it signals the body to wake up.
Note in the above photo how not exercising proper tongue posture could increase your chances of getting sleep apnea.
Mewing, when done over time and correctly, can help prevent sleep apnea. A longer and more elongated face (people with long face syndrome), which arises from bad oral posture, can be more susceptible to contracting sleep apnea. Mewing will ensure that your tongue stays up where it belongs instead of blocking your airway.
Increased Blood Flow
Over time, bad posture can actually affect your blood flow. The reason for this is that bad posture is not the natural state your body should be in. Instead, it affects and disrupts the regular body cavity pressures. In this context, we will be talking about the chest cavity in particular.
Because it can affect the chest cavity’s normal pressure, the heartbeat is also changed by poor posture. In effect, blood flow will not be properly managed by the body.
One of the most important steps in mewing is to remember to practice proper body posture. It’s often forgotten in the overall context of mewing. When you have a forward head posture, your mouth tends to hang open, and you will have trouble connecting your tongue consistently to the back third of your mouth. Ignoring proper posture could just be counterintuitive to your mewing attempts.
The importance of proper posture in mewing is paramount. It indirectly facilitates proper blood flow in our body. Additionally, not practicing proper posture can affect your carotid sinus, which facilitates better blood flow to the brain.
Reduced Risk of TMD
The root cause of TMJ issues actually lies in improper posture (habitual retraction of the mandible). If we fix the underlying cause, the TMD will resolve.
When you breathe through your mouth and walk around without your mouth closed your teeth, over time, end up touching each other much further back than they normally would. Because you’ve trained your teeth to hang back, your jaw wants to close that way too.
Over a short period of time, this wouldn’t matter. But the problem is that the body wants to reform around your new position. As a result, the condylar head of the mandible winds up crushing the posterior muscle attachment of the TMJ.
Only by practicing proper oral posture can you avoid your TMJ remodeling itself into the wrong position.
For more info, see our article on mewing and TMJ.
Mouth breathing is not natural for humans. Breathing through your mouth makes you take in more air than breathing through your nose, but in the long run, it decreases how much oxygen you absorb from the air. This can be necessary when you work-out, or if you’re under stressful circumstances. You also breathe through your mouth in specific anxiety-inducing situations.
However, humans were built for nose breathing. Tribal people can run for miles chasing their prey and still manage to breathe through their nose.
This study by De Lima et al. (2018) discussed how mouth breathing could induce sensory changes in children. Sensory reactions determine how we act in our day-to-day life and are affected by external stimuli. If you are a chronic mouth breather, this convinces your body that you are in a constant state of stress. This correlation could affect how you approach your everyday life and choices.
Chronic stress can increase your chances of getting high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart disease, and even stroke. Nobody denies the health-destroying effects of long-term stress in the medical field nowadays. As breathing through your nose is a crucial concept in mewing, you could potentially avoid many life-threatening medical issues.
Many of us might think that mouth breathing is okay since we’ve been doing it our whole lives. It’s not uncommon for people to think that the default way to breathe is through your mouth. Because of this, breathing through your nose could be uncomfortable since you’re not used to it.
Mouth breathing is one of the reasons why a face gets that elongated and droopy look and no one wants that. Breathing through your mouth has had many adverse problems connected to it, the least of which is an unaesthetic face. These problems include bad breath, enlargened tonsils, malocclusions, and many others. It has also been connected to TMJ.
Breathing through your nose confers many health benefits because that is how your body was made to work. Reserve mouth breathing for high-stress situations or when you cannot breathe properly through your nose. The nose operates in a way that it should be the natural way to breathe.
When you breathe through your nose, this allows the air to be filtered when delivered to your lungs. You can increase carbon dioxide levels and circulating blood oxygen. An increase in these things slows your breathing rate and positively impacts the overall breathing process. Many of you probably think that carbon dioxide is just a waste product and not good for the body. While it’s true that it’s what the body releases when it exhales, carbon dioxide performs several bodily functions for us. For example, it helps manage pH levels and helps relax the airway muscles.
Nose breathing also facilitates your use of nitric oxide, which increases oxygen transport throughout your body. When you are mouth breathing, you tend to inhale more air without any resistance. This way of inhalation isn’t ideal because you need higher oxygen levels. Breathing through your nose gives some resistance to the air stream, and you’ll breathe more oxygen that way.
Mewing can be beneficial to your face and attractiveness, that is true. It can change the way your jaw looks and make your face less elongated and more proportioned. With proper mewing, your chin will be less recessed over time. But apart from those, there are also serious health benefits you can get from mewing. It is not a purely aesthetic process.
The entire process of mewing revolves around the idea that our body systems are deeply interconnected, and changing your posture can change your whole body. Indirectly, mewing will affect and change many things in our body for the better. From proper breathing to less pain, you can gain many health benefits from mewing and letting your body function as it should.
Even if you did not get the most optimum results with your facial aesthetics, you would still benefit from mewing because of the many health issues that you can resolve or avoid.