Can't breathe while mewing? Read this article to find out why

Can't breathe while mewing? Read this article to find out why
Medically reviewed by
Certified specialist with 5 years of extensive dental and orthodontic experience
How to Breathe While Mewing: Guide For Those Who Can’t Breathe During Mewing
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Can’t Breathe While Mewing?

Problems with breathing while mewing is a common issue, especially when people only start mewing. There are a few recommendations for those struggling to breathe while mewing.

What Experienced Mewers Suggest on How to Breathe While Mewing?

The question “What do I do if I can’t breathe while mewing?” brought up a few useful pieces of advice from the experienced mewers on Reddit. 

“You are putting your tongue too far back. Say TING and close your mouth gently while breathing through your nose.”

- Prof John Mew commented on one of the user’s requests about breathing while mewing.

Tips from experienced mewers on how to breathe while mewing:

  • A reddit user who practices mewing explains that controlling his tongue properly was like learning to walk. He kept saying “sing” until he could control the back of his tongue and shift it forward a bit to enable breathing. It then became a habit allowing breathing. 
  • Another mewer says that if you can’t breathe it’s a sign your tongue is in the correct position. To breathe comfortably you should slightly adjust the tongue, but it will still be involved with the soft and hard palate.
  • Moreover, some mewers point out that doing a “swallow hold” is not necessary for mewing, especially with breathing difficulties. They basically expand John Mew’s words about swallowing position, that while swallowing the hyoid (a bone at the root of the tongue) comes up too high and forward, closing the airway. Instead, you should just raise the tongue in a mewing position.
A proper tongue position to enable breathing while mewing
A proper tongue position to enable breathing while mewing

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Breathing While Mewing Diagram

Correct nasal breathing while mewing is as essential as resting your tongue on the roof of the mouth. 

It’s a base of mewing, so the proper technique of mewing and breathing while doing it includes the following:

  1. Keep your lips sealed and slightly clench your teeth
  2. Say the word “sing”
  3. Hold your tongue in that position as you say the “ng” sound
  4. You should feel your tongue pressed against the hard palate
  5. Keep breathing through the nose
  6. Your tongue shouldn't touch the front teeth

Proper mewing tongue posture

The Connection between the Posterior Third of the Tongue and the Airway 

The problem with breathing for most mewing beginners is connected with the posterior third of the tongue. 

Posterior third of the tongue

The thing is, when people put the tongue up to the roof of the mouth, the posterior of the tongue blocks the airway. It may happen when this part of the tongue pushes the soft palate, obstructing respiration. John Mew, the founder of mewing, suggests that the posterior part of the tongue shouldn’t be pressed so hard on the roof of the mouth and the soft palate. Proper breathing is crucial, so the correct tongue posture should be kept while allowing normal nasal breathing.

Meanwhile, his son, Dr. Mike Mew, insists that the posterior third of the tongue is vital in the mewing process. To get a result, you should still press the posterior third of the tongue up, even if it slightly pushes the soft palate and complicates breathing. You can control it and with continuous practice, it will get to normal breathing.

Read also our article about hunter eyes and "Does Chewing Gum Help Jawline?".

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How to Breathe While Mewing

The first thing to fix the breathing problem while mewing is to make sure you avoid mewing mistakes. 

Also, check out the following points to see if you’re mewing technique is correct:

  1. Your tongue doesn’t touch the front teeth
  2. Try to inhale through the mouth - you shouldn’t be able to do it
  3. Your tongue pressure is distributed evenly
  4. Your teeth are not tensely clenched, they’re touching lightly

Then, make sure that breathing obstruction while mewing isn’t connected with nasal problems (deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, adenoids, etc). If that’s the case, surgical intervention is sometimes needed, so a medical consultation will clarify it. 

If you can breathe through the nose and just feel difficulties, or lack tongue space, then regular practice can help you breathe properly while mewing.

Proper breathing while mewing

Reasons Why You Can’t Breathe While Mewing

The issue of breathing while mewing is often associated with an incorrect mewing technique when the airway gets blocked. There are a few main causes why you can’t breathe while mewing and they should be solved to gain the desired result from mewing.

Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing basically makes mewing impossible, since you can’t keep proper tongue posture and breathe through the mouth at the same time. It’s because when your tongue is resting on the roof of the mouth, it simply blocks the oral airway. Moreover, the airways of mouth breathers are usually narrower, obstructing respiration even more. If mouth breathing is just a bad habit of yours (with no health disorders behind it other than weak chin), then the regular practice of mewing and nasal breathing exercises can bring good results.

Incorrect Mewing Tongue Posture 

As was mentioned, proper mewing tongue posture is crucial. If you keep your tongue too far back, pushing the soft palate, not only it will block the airway, but also will make your jaws and tongue feel uncomfortable. If you keep it too close to the front teeth pushing them forward, it may result in malocclusion. Therefore, make sure you’re mewing correctly and practice regularly to get the best results (get your inspiration from the “before & after mewing” reviews).

The posterior third of the tongue is too far blocking the airway

Orofacial Disorders

Orofacial disorders include many issues that could prevent you from breathing normally while mewing. Many of them, like malocclusion, and restricted maxilla, are caused by mouth breathing, so these problems are connected. In general, orofacial disorders should be treated by doctors, sometimes surgically. So if your breathing issue is connected with a health problem, consulting a doctor is important.

Orofacial Disorders: long face, incorrect swallowing, tongue thrust
Check out our guide on how how to stop tongue thrusting and why you should think about it.

Lack of Tongue Space

Another reason why you can’t breathe while mewing, according to Dr. Mew, is the lack of tongue space. Sometimes, the tongue appears to be slightly bigger, and once put in a correct mewing position, it blocks the airway too much. Still, if you can breathe through your nose, adjust your tongue posture so that even if complicated, respiration is possible. 

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Q: Why Can’t I Breathe While Mewing?

There are a few possible reasons, including mouth breathing, lack of tongue space, orofacial disorders, and incorrect tongue posture. The solution is to fix the tongue posture, breathe through the nose and practice more and regularly. Also, treat the orofacial disorders if that’s the issue.  

Q: How Do I Know I’m Mewing Correctly?

Correct mewing implies proper tongue posture in the first place. Make sure your tongue is on the roof of the mouth, the pressure it makes is distributed evenly and you breathe through the nose. Your tongue shouldn’t touch the front teeth and they should be slightly touching, not clenched.



Written by
Victoria Punda
January 26, 2023