What if you could straighten your teeth without the need for orthodontic braces or aligners? Recent posts on the internet have been promising users exactly that.
Thanks to many DIY at-home teeth straightening videos, scientifically unsupported hacks such as rubber bands, dental floss, and paper clips have gained alarming popularity of late.
Hacks claim, for example, that using rubber bands is functionally similar to getting braces. However, these ‘treatments’ are not only ineffective, they are also incredibly dangerous without the supervision of a qualified dental professional.
The truth is that DIY at-home teeth straightening can cause irreversible tooth damage, pain, inflammation, potential tooth loss, gum infection, and an altered bite. So, if you’re thinking of straightening teeth using dubious at-home teeth straightening methods, the short answer is: Don’t.
But what about mewing? How does it compare and how does it claim to straighten teeth?
Mewing is different in the way that it doesn’t rely on apparatus or everyday objects to straighten teeth but on components that are already in the mouth – e.g. your tongue.
Even though this technique has been around since the 1970’s, it has seen a recent resurgence with social media posts and videos showing weak chins transforming into strong, square jawlines and moon-shaped faces turning into chiselled cheekbones.
So, what does mewing involve?
Named after a British Orthodontist, Dr Mike Mew, Mewing is classed as an orthotropic treatment – a form of orthodontics that focuses on jaw posturing.
The process involves continually pressing the tongue against the maxilla (the roof of the mouth) while keeping the teeth aligned and mouth closed. The teeth should not rest against the front upper teeth but a little behind them.
As the tongue is pressed upwards towards the palate, advocates also recommend making the ‘ng’ sound as in ‘wing’ and ‘thing’ to reinforce the benefits.
The idea is that when mewing is carried out repeatedly, it becomes second nature and over time, muscles remember how to place the tongue in the desired position. Re-trained muscle memory is said to cause the jaw position to change, leading to better oral posture.
Furthermore, proper tongue alignment is recommended by some orthodontists or medical professionals to help with issues such as sleep apnoea, speech impediments and to ease any discomfort felt from jaw-related issues such as temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJD). So it does have an element of kudos.
So does mewing work?
For cases of sleep apnoea – where the tongue drops back towards the throat, it is possible to see how this technique could work in conjunction with other methods.
However, for other cases such as bite alignment or cosmetic concerns, the jury is out.
Experts suggest that mewing can take years to see any permanent changes – if any at all. These claims are backed by a wealth of clinical research.
To counteract the argument for mewing, there is little to no hard scientific evidence to show that mewing actually works to address cosmetic dental concerns. All we really have is a wealth of anecdotal social media reports.
Whether any claims are true or not, mewing is undoubtedly not meant to be an easy solution for patients requiring orthodontic or jaw alignment procedures.
If you are serious about having a straighter, healthier smile, it’s better to opt for proven, scientific teeth straightening solutions rather than relying on unsupported claims. This is where clear aligners can help.
Clear aligners – Reliable, effective and proven
Clear aligners are one of the most affordable, effective, and easily accessible teeth straightening tools for teenagers and adults.
Also known as Invisible aligners, treatments are proven to rectify a wide range of alignment issues, including overbites, underbites, crossbites, and crowded teeth. While transparent aligners are very different from traditional braces, they achieve similar results in mild to moderate cases.
How do aligners straighten your smile?
Clear aligners are thin, transparent, dental-grade plastic appliances which are worn sequentially to move teeth. Each aligner (tray) moves teeth in small increments – typically 0.25mm – 0.33mm.
Once the current tray has done its job, usually somewhere between 10 and 14 days – it’s discarded and the subsequent aligner is inserted. This continues until all your aligners are worn and you now have a straighter, healthier smile.
A closer look at clear aligners
When a custom tray is placed in the mouth it is designed to apply specific and adequate pressure in order to move teeth into their desired positions. Specific tweaks can also be aided with the help of buttons (small, clear fixtures attached to the teeth which help to control force and subsequently, the direction of movement).
In some cases, you can look forward to seeing noticeable results in about six months while others may take longer.
The total number of trays varies from patient to patient depending upon the complexity of the alignment and the resistance of the jaw. Tray numbers will also dictate how long a specific treatment lasts. However, timely results rely on the fact that every aligner in the series is worn consistently.
For best effectiveness, each aligner should be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day, so you need to be disciplined to wear them. If not, treatment duration is likely to be extended.
Multiple benefits of teeth straightening with Straight My Teeth vs mewing
While mewing isn’t a scientifically proven technique, Clear aligners are. In fact, multiple clinical papers suggest that clear aligners are a viable alternative to conventional braces therapy in mild or moderate cases.
While mewing is discreet, so too are clear aligners. There’s no need to feel apprehensive about wearing conspicuous, unsightly braces or disturb your schedule with frequent orthodontic visits. If we find that aligners are not the best fit for your needs, the team at Straight My Teeth will refund the full cost of your impression kit.
Mewing can take 1-2 years to be effective – if at all – whereas our clear aligners typically take 6-8 months to work
Once teeth are straightened, patients can look forward to improved oral health, better occlusion, and a confidence-boosting smile.
Straighter teeth also provide less likelihood of developing gum disease due to trapped food debris, fewer chances of developing halitosis (bad breath), and less wear and tear on the teeth.
Once teeth are straightened, you’ll enjoy the confidence that always accompanies a beautiful smile.
Teeth straightening kits from Straight My Teeth – Easy, simple and effective
Our personalised teeth straightening kits correct your smile discreetly without making it obvious that you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. You can take up to five impressions with our risk-free dental impression kit that comes with disposable gloves.
Once you send us your dental impressions, our trained team create a 3D model of your smile. If you’re ready to proceed with the treatment plan, you can simply order your direct-to-consumer customised aligners straight to your door.
If you decide that mewing is not for you and you’re interested to learn more about how you can benefit from effective oral alignment with our custom teeth straightening kits, please get in touch with Straight my Teeth today.
Mitchell, P. (2021, July 29). DIY teeth straightening kits – should you try this at home? News. https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/diy-teeth-straightening-kits-should-you-try-this-at-home/news-story/ed64f838227421332ad9c8765c942b3c
Colgate. (2020, December 10). What Is Orthotropics? https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/adult-orthodontics/what-is-orthotropics
Carlson CR, Sherman JJ, Studts JL, Bertrand PM. The effects of tongue position on mandibular muscle activity. J Orofac Pain. 1997 Fall;11(4):291-7. PMID: 9656904.
Papadimitriou, A., Mousoulea, S., Gkantidis, N., & Kloukos, D. (2018). Clinical effectiveness of Invisalign® orthodontic treatment: a systematic review. Progress in orthodontics, 19(1), 37. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40510-018-0235-z
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Kishor Kumar Pradhan