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The Viral Mewing Trend Must End Now. Here's Why

Social Media

Mon, January 29

If you are a regularly active social media user, you have likely heard of mewing, a technique in which one flattens the tongue to the roof of the mouth. Over time, mewing is said to give a person a sharper jawline, an attractive and desirable feature that is rather difficult to achieve. Contrary to the popular myth, fat around the chin and upper neck cannot be spot-reduced.

So, mewing offers a simple solution and has gone viral around the Internet for this benefit. It is also linked to easing jaw pain and orthodontic conditions.

Social media reels that promote this technique often avoid featuring its downsides. If users are uneducated about the risks of mewing, then they can experience adverse side effects over time. Here is why this particular trend and its myths must end.

The History of Mewing

Mewing originated from the studies of a contentious orthodontist, John Mew. He believed that specific tongue placements could improve physical aesthetics and jawline features. However, according to Orthodontic Products, Mew’s license was revoked due to unsupported claims that could result in adverse side effects. The "Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery”, a reputable publication, also claims that Mew criticized traditional practices of orthodontic tooth movement. As proven, mewing originates from a controversial orthodontist who is no longer in practice.

Social media influencers promoting this technique caused concern from the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) and medical professionals. Mewing was not scientifically tested or approved by most orthodontic offices. This did not interfere with the prominence of these myths, which continue circulating throughout the Internet today.

Unfortunately, content creators rarely address the surprising history of the mewing technique. When people are misled into trying unregulated practices featured by a mass-produced trend, it can result in unfortunate consequences.

Lack of Evidence

While mewing can sharpen the appearance of your jawline, it cannot keep your face remaining this way. “Medical News Today," an outlet featuring work from medical journals, states that no official evidence suggests this technique effectively reshapes your face. Mewing is not guaranteed long-term benefits, no matter how long you use this technique.

Content creators on social media platforms can mislead their audiences into believing that by mewing for extended periods, they can have permanently defined jawlines. This trend implies inaccurate results, which has caused dissatisfaction among people who were deceived by online posts.

Referencing back to Volume 77 of the “Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,” Mew’s work was never scientifically verified and was only approved by a minority of clinicians. With a lack of credible evidence supporting the benefits of mewing, it is best to avoid following this trend altogether.

Risk of Speech Impairments

Placement of the tongue in an unnatural position can hinder a person’s ability to speak clearly. Treating speaking difficulties can require years of speech therapy in severe cases. Orthodontic Products also links mewing to altered pronunciations and slurring. While this trend cannot entirely prove its benefits, the consequences are indisputable. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2010), around 18.5 million individuals are impacted by speech/voice or language disorders. The AAO claims that mewing can worsen some conditions for those with preexisting speech impairments. It is inadvisable to mew for long periods, if at all.

Speech issues linked to mewing can have negative social consequences. Communication struggles often hinder an individual’s ability to give oral presentations and form bonds. The downsides of mewing are not only limited to physical features.

Linked to Misaligned Teeth

Using a technique associated with an unattractive feature to improve physical appearance is both piteous and ironic. The natural course of occlusion partly depends on the tongue’s resting position. Mewing disrupts this by forcing an extrinsic way, which can result in misaligned teeth and biting.

While some social media influencers suggest mewing supports teeth alignment, as Verywell Health noted, there is always an associated risk of a misaligned bite. Mewing is classified as an unsupervised attempt to alter the alignment of teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists does not recommend using this technique since it can result in long-term consequences.

If you still doubt whether mewing can improve tooth alignment and physical aesthetics, consider reading about myofunctional orthodontics and orthognathic surgery. Since this article cannot cover the complexity of these fields of study, I recommend reading the two embedded articles to gain a deeper understanding of traditional approaches and procedures.

Chances are, mewing does not compare to these alternative methods of jaw adjustment and teeth alignment.

What the Mewing Trend Reflects

Shockingly, inadvisable techniques such as mewing are recommended to countless misled people. Unsurprisingly, social media is the primary culprit. Anyone can share a post relating to a trend without any credible sources of evidence.

As a result, despite professional advice and its questionable history, mewing is still recommended by content creators. This can negatively impact their followers, who trust them as a source of knowledge and entertainment.

Social media often targets younger users, such as members of Generation Z. The innate tendency to believe in a practice/fact that others support allows trends to prosper. Searching for relevant context before believing claims you hear online is essential to avoid misleading information. Don’t fall into the trap of conformity to trends without considering possible consequences.

The downsides of mewing outweigh the unproven benefits that are featured online. Understanding how misleading information becomes popularized on social media is essential to avoid making ill-judged decisions. By checking relevant sources to support claims and using critical thinking, teenagers can make the Internet more reliable and trustworthy. As of 2024, this trend is definitely one to steer clear of.

Kelly Halliburton
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Kelly Halliburton is a member of the Creative Writing Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She enjoys writing poetry, volunteering, and reading. Through exploring themes of student life and personal growth, she aspires to project meaningful ideas in the community.