Where’s your tongue right now? If it’s not at the roof of your mouth, then you might have poor tongue posture.
While proper tongue posture isn’t something most of us think about often (or ever), your tongue’s resting position can have a significant impact on the development of your face, the position of your teeth, and your breathing. Poor tongue posture may also be linked to health issues like sleep apnea and bruxism (teeth grinding).
The recent influx of YouTube videos, forum discussions, and blog posts covering this topic has inspired thousands of people to begin trying to deliberately correct their resting tongue posture.
This process, known as “mewing” is believed to be able to change the shape of your face, straighten your teeth, and improve your breathing. Let’s take an in-depth look at proper tongue posture and the possible health benefits that it can provide.
What Is Proper Tongue Posture?
Proper tongue posture requires keeping the tongue pressed against the roof of the mouth with the tip of the tongue placed against the hard palate.
While in the resting position, your mouth should remain closed with your lips sealed, and your teeth should be aligned and slightly apart. You should also be breathing through the nose as often as possible.
For most people, proper tongue posture comes naturally. However, some people have a habit of resting the tongue at the base of the mouth or thrusting the tongue forward between the teeth. These habits can result in problems like teeth crowding, a less defined jawline, and even breathing issues.
Excessive mouth-breathing is one of the most common reasons people develop poor tongue posture. Many people develop this habit due to allergy or sinus conditions that make it difficult to breathe through the nose.
Because mouth-breathing requires the mouth to remain open for long periods of time, it’s hard to maintain proper tongue posture if you predominantly breathe through your mouth.
Other factors that may correlate with improper tongue posture include thumb-sucking, using pacifiers for an extended period of time, and eating a diet that consists of mostly soft foods.
As content about proper tongue posture continues to go viral, many people are giving “mewing” a try. Named after the British orthodontist, Dr. Mike Mew, mewing is the practice of deliberately training your tongue to rest at the roof of your mouth. His YouTube channel, Orthotropics, contains hundreds of videos covering the effects of proper tongue posture and mewing tutorials.
Although Dr. Mew’s YouTube videos continue to go viral, the practice of correcting tongue posture is not a new concept. For most people, tongue posture can be corrected by simply paying attention to the position of your tongue and adjusting it as needed. Over time, your body will adapt and your tongue will remain at the roof of your mouth involuntarily.
The Benefits of Proper Tongue Posture
Although there hasn’t been much clinical research done on this topic, many people have benefitted from correcting their tongue’s resting posture. Here are a few of the possible benefits that this practice can provide:
A More Defined Jawline
Many people begin correcting their tongue posture due to an interest in achieving a more defined jawline. Studies have shown that the tongue’s resting posture can have an impact on the shape and structure of the face.
Poor tongue posture can cause the facial bones to droop down, which results in a long, narrow facial structure. By adopting proper tongue posture and using the tongue’s weight to push upwards on the maxilla, it’s possible to heighten the cheekbones and define the jawline.
This is possible because the skull is not made of fixed bones. The skull is made of fibrous sutures that enable the skull’s bones to shift and adapt over time. Sutures tend to close by the age of 40, so this effect of proper tongue posture is more significant if you start at a relatively young age.
Individuals with poor tongue posture are more likely to have narrow mouths and crowded teeth. By correcting your tongue’s posture and keeping it at the roof of your mouth, it’s possible to expand your upper palate and jaw.
This provides more room for the teeth to grow in comfortably without overcrowding. It’s not uncommon for orthodontists to monitor a patient’s tongue posture before prescribing braces as a corrective treatment.
Another key benefit of proper tongue posture is improved breathing. Most people who have poor tongue posture breathe through their mouths throughout much of the day. Excessive mouth-breathing has been linked to a variety of adverse health effects, including sleep apnea, bruxism (teeth grinding), and snoring.
Adopting proper tongue posture and keeping the mouth closed while at rest encourages you to breathe through the nose.
This enables you to breathe deeper and provide the body with more oxygen. Other benefits of nose-breathing include reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep quality, and improved athletic stamina.