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Open Wide Netflix Documentary – A Myofunctional Perspective

I managed to get a little preview of Open Wide, the new Netflix documentary about the Mews and their principles of jaw growth, ahead of its UK release. Wow! What a great show, and two very admirable men!

World-renowned Dentists John Mew, and his son Mike have so much passion for their principles (albeit some of their methods seem a little radical!). I believe in their fundamental message and most of the science behind it- we need our faces and jaws to GROW!!

‘Mewing’ overlaps so much with Myofunctional Principles, and some of the exercises are the same or similar to some myo exercises. The biggest difference is the Mews’ motivation seems more focused on facial aesthetics, rather than on oral function, health and airway, which are always the focus of a Myofunctional Therapist.

There was lots of talk of good chewing, but not enough mention of tongue posture, and the role of the tongue (including potential ties).

I would have loved to see more talk of increasing/improving airway for better sleep and oxygenation. This is so important. The more space we have for our tongue, the better it fits in the ‘tongue box’ (the palate), and the better it sits within the palate, the better the support for the soft structures of the airway! There was also scarce mention of temporomandibular joint disorder. Again, lack of discussion of what symptoms can occur when there is an imbalance of the facial muscles.

In Myofunctional Therapy, we approach exercises systematically, and monitor functional changes, ensuring that we are working towards balance in the facial muscles. We work through phases, from strengthening and re-patterning to maintaining and synchronising the systems we’ve worked on. In doing this, we re-pattern the whole orofacial system to work effectively to support the airway, good health and good oral function, which will sustain optimal balance going forward, so that exercises and active thought about the facial muscles is never needed again! Lip closure, correct tongue rest, correct swallowing and nasal breathing are habitual, and life long.

Whilst I believe in the principles of mewing, and that there is merit in these exercises, I firmly believe that Myofunctional Therapy is the best long term solution to addressing orofacial imbalance. I am thankful to the Mews for their commitment to the ’cause of the jaws’.

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