Most people think that mewing is just correcting your tongue posture, but it goes a bit deeper than that. You need to make sure that you chew your food properly to get the best results from mewing.
To properly chew while mewing, you need to chew using both sides of your jaw and teeth equally. You should use your tongue to move the food around your mouth as you chew. You want to avoid using your cheek muscles. Ideally, you want to chew your food until it is a paste.
How to Properly Chew While Mewing
Most people are shocked to realize they are not chewing the correct way. To properly chew while mewing, you need to adjust your chewing habits.
Here is what you need to do:
- Use your teeth and jaw only. Chew in a vertical direction. Try to avoid using your cheek as much as you can.
- Chew your food until it is a paste. This will help you work your jaw muscles and help you focus on using your jaw and teeth.
- Be sure you keep your lips sealed while you chew.
- Try to use both sides of your jaw and teeth. Don’t focus on one side.
- Do not forget your tongue. Use your tongue to move the food around your mouth until it gets chewed down to a paste. Do not use your cheeks to move the food. Do not forget to use the tongue to swallow the food correctly by firmly pressing your tongue on the back of your palate.
You can also practice proper chewing by eating in front of a mirror. Chew your food slowly while following the tips above. Whatever you do, don’t activate your buccinator muscle:
Weekly Chewing Protocol
You can follow the tips above to chew each meal you have. Try to make it a habit. It takes about 66 days to form a habit (Lally et al., 2009). Therefore, following a weekly protocol can help you get used to chewing correctly.
You can start slow. In the first week, you can use the proper chewing method for lunch. In the second week, you can use the proper chewing method for lunch and dinner, and so on. Each time you practice, make sure you take note of how you chew. Eventually, it will become second nature.
To build up your masseter muscles and get a wider jaw you can start chewing gum. I recommend starting with sugar-free gum that has xylitol. Xylitol is good for your oral health and actually helps prevent bacteria build-up. Then chew for 20 minutes per day 5 days a week. Add 2-3 minutes each week to your daily chewing routine. The key is to start slow so that you don’t get any TMJ issues.
Move the gum from one side of your mouth to the other in a circular manner so that you chew on all sides equally. Ideally, split your routine in half and chew half the time on one side and half the time on the other side.
Once you’re chewing gum for several hours per day, upgrade to a harder gum like falim gum. Be careful though, this gum is much harder and you’ll have to start slow again. If you’re up to several hours per day of chewing normal gum, then go back down to one hour for falim gum.
Engaging Masseter Muscles
Your masseter muscles are mostly responsible for moving your mandible. Additionally, it is also responsible for some protraction (extension) of your mandible. Ideally, you should engage your masseter muscles while you chew to help strengthen your jaw. You do not have to worry about getting overly large masseter muscles quickly.
People who frequently clench their jaw for months get masseter muscles that are too large, but you may not get that from chewing gum or food. You will not exert as much force to chew as you would from clenching your jaws constantly.
Additionally, using your masseter muscles to chew will help make sure you do not use your buccinator muscles to chew.
Why Does Proper Chewing Matter for Mewing?
If you want to see results from mewing, you need to make sure you mew properly. You need to make sure you have proper tongue and mouth posture, use proper swallowing technique, have proper head posture, chew correctly, etc.
By combining all of these small things, you can see amazing results from mewing. If you only focus on one or two of these aspects, you may see little to no results. So, it would be best if you did not forget about chewing correctly.
If you chew the “wrong” way, you may over-engage your buccinator muscles, which are your cheek muscles. When you work your cheek muscles, they will grow larger and lead to a moon face. It will make your cheeks look pudgy and make your face look rounder.
Therefore, chewing correctly will help make sure you use your masseter muscles to chew, not your buccinator muscles. It will help you strengthen your jaw and help your buccinator muscles atrophy, which leads to cheek hollows.
Chewing properly and having strong masseter muscles is important for mewing because the masseter muscles are the antagonists to the tongue. Mewing will be far more effective if your masseter muscles adequately counterbalance your tongue.
Basic Chewing Safety Tips
Safety comes first and avoiding TMJ issues takes top priority.
Remember to start slow, 20 minutes per day tops. Cavemen could chew hard foods all day long and be fine. But you didn’t grow up eating hard foods. Your bones, teeth, ligaments, tendons, and muscles aren’t used to it. Get adequate rest and don’t immediately start off with the hardest gum you can find.
Be careful with devices that work your jaw. Chewing food is natural, and over time it will actually help you remodel bone. Jaw exercise tools can only simulate normal chewing, and they can only do it for a short amount of time.
Remember that when eating tough foods, you don’t need to exert much force. Even if you eat something tough, take your time chewing it.
To avoid developing facial asymmetries, chew on both sides equally.
Does It Matter What Direction You Chew?
The direction you chew impacts the way your face grows. The graphic below by G. Slavicek (2010) shows the difference in chewing direction between a rodent (a), dog (b) and an herbivore (c):
As you can see, chewing in an outward direction results in a more forward grown face. This supports the way the masseter muscle fibers are naturally arranged in the human skull:
However, it’s highly that the way you normally chew is the optimal direction. I don’t recommend altering the direction that you chew.