Dentist behind TikTok ‘mewing’ craze ‘tried to realign children’s teeth with unproven procedures’

The dentist behind the TikTok ‘mewing’ craze that claims to change the shape of your jawline without surgery treated two children with ‘invasive and harmful’ mouth-altering treatments that are unproven, a tribunal heard today.

Dr Mike Mew could be struck off over ‘pejorative’ claims he tested out the treatment on a six-year-old boy and girl in a bid to align their teeth and lift their jawlines.

He even recommended an ‘expansion appliance’ be fitted on the boy when he was just two, the hearing was told.

Dr Mew is credited with popularising a way of restructuring your face called ‘mewing’, which involves closing your mouth, placing your tongue against your palette and pressing your molar teeth together.

Proponents claim the method can change your facial features and raise your jawline, alleviate jaw and mouth muscle pain and stop people snoring. 

The trend, which is named after the doctor’s father Professor John Mew, has sparked a huge social media craze and 1.7billion videos about it have been viewed on TikTok alone.

Experts fear people who need surgery or orthodontic work will instead try to fix the issues by themselves.

Dr Mike Mew (pictured today) – the dentist behind the TikTok ‘mewing’ craze that claims to change the shape of your jawline without surgery – treated two children with ‘invasive and harmful’ mouth-altering treatments that are unproven, a tribunal heard today

A General Dental Council (GDC) hearing in Bloomsbury, London today was told that between September 2013 and May 2019 Dr Mew provided advice and treatment to two children, referred to as Patient A and Patient B.


Dr Mew fitted arch expansion appliances and head gear on the boy in August 2018.

The girl was also given arch expansion appliances in September 2016.

Two months later he also recommended the girl undergo a tongue-tie release which would let her mouth rest in the ‘mewing’ position, but she was never fitted with it.

From the age of six, Patient A was advised to use upper and lower arch expansion appliances and wear neck gear to ‘gain a substantial increase in nasal capacity’, ‘improve the midface’, ‘change the swallowing pattern’ and ‘guide facial growth’.

Dr Mew believed this would allow more space for the teeth and tongue so ‘all the 32 teeth align naturally without the need for fixed braces’, the tribunal heard.

He also suggested Patient A underwent a lingual tongue-tie release, which he said would allow her to rest with her tongue on the roof of her mouth and strengthen the jaw.

According to tribunal papers, Dr Mew told the girl’s mother: ‘Most orthodontists have been told what we do is not evidence-based but few really have any idea of what we do.’ 

A photograph showed Patient A’s upper and lower teeth slanted forward, that she had recession of the lower front teeth and an unaligned upper tooth following the treatment, as well as an ulcer.

The tribunal heard a consultant was ‘so concerned’ by what he saw in the girl’s mouth and the ‘harm the appliances were doing’ that he referred Dr Mew to a council.

Patient B’s parents were recommended ‘the widening of both arches’, the ‘wearing of head gear at night’ and the potential ‘provision of a ‘Myobrace’ or ‘training appliance”.

The boy was found to have recession of the lower front teeth by another practitioner.

Dr Mew was accused of failing to ‘carry out appropriate monitoring’ of their treatment and ‘ought to have known’ this was liable to cause harm.

The dentist is also accused of saying in a 2017 YouTube video ‘words to the effect that if you create enough tongue space and children use that tongue space, that can influence the facial growth and the craniofacial structure and ‘expansion of the brain, expansion of the dental arches as well.’

He allegedly added: ‘If a patient walks into my office over the age of eight, they’re into an area where it’s going to be compromise, it depends how hard they work.

‘If someone comes in at the age of five or six I can almost get a complete correction.

‘If someone comes in younger I can give them advice on how they can correct themselves.’

Briefly opening the hearing, Lydia Barnfather, representing the GDC, said comments made by Dr Mew on his YouTube channel were ‘pejorative’ about orthodontists. 

Ms Barnfather told the professional conduct committee Dr Mew seeks to treat children with ‘head and neck gear’ and ‘lower and upper arch expansion appliances’ to help align teeth and shape the jawline.

She said: ‘He believes that orthodontic therapy is erroneously based on the concept of genetic aetiology, what has been inherited, where he believes that the cranial facial form should be addressed with regards to environmental geology.

‘It’s his belief that environmental factors have led to faces having a down swing and in diagnosing what he calls cranial facial dystrophy.’

Ms Barnfather went on: ‘What he intends to do and what he claims to do is to invert the vertical growth of the face to horizontal growth, widening the face.

‘Thereby goes his theory, the theory devised by this father, cause structural changes of the face, cause an expansion of the underlying cranial facial form, including the nasal axillary complex, and create space in both dental arches so that the teeth align naturally.

‘In addition, he claims ENT (ear, nose and throat) conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, is cured.’

She claimed concerns about his methods first arose in September 2017 when he made a YouTube video seemingly promoting the so-called ‘mewing’ treatments.

‘Concerns were made about claims he made in a YouTube post which focused on the health and appearance of the face,’ Ms Barnfather said.

The concerns were referred to the British Orthodontic Council. 

She alleged that Dr Mews believes orthodontic therapy is ‘erroneously based on the concept of genetic etiology.’

‘It is his belief that environmental factors have led to faces having a down swing as he refers to it, and he diagnoses what he calls craniofacial dystrophy,’ she told the hearing.

‘That diagnosis was done in respect of young children who he sought to treat from the ages of six, and in one particular case he endeavoured to start treatment on a young child who was two years old.’



She shared how the dentist sought to treat the children with ‘head and neck gear.’ He also wanted to use ‘lower and upper arch expanding appliances.’

‘What he claims to do is convert the vertical growth of the face to a horizontal growth, widening the face and particularly the mid-face,’ Ms Barnfather argued.

‘Thereby goes his theory, which was devised by his father, causes structural changes to the face which expands the underlying facial form, which creates space so the teeth can align naturally.

She added: ‘Additionally, he claims environmental conditions can cure obstructive sleep apnea (snoring).

‘His treatment is very protracted, expensive, uncomfortable and highly demanding of a child. Given the risks of the treatment it is alleged that it only be provided if there is an adequate evidence base to support it.’

Ms Barnfather also noted how it is alleged by the GDC that Dr Mew’s treatment is ‘unproven.’

‘He should not have treated the patients in the way he did and should not have made the claims he did,’ she argued, citing how ‘both children had perfectly normal facial development for their age.’

‘Dr Mew is perhaps the loudest supporter of what was called mewing in orthotropics,’ she continued.

‘He was originally asked when he made these claims to provide evidence in support of them. He didn’t consider it necessary for him to do so.

‘He then made a video in response to our request for evidence saying ‘it is a great shame, it is a terrible system but it is better than the alternatives. Don’t ask me to defend it, it is a negative argument.’

The tribunal was told the boy’s mother was initially a believer in the treatment but no longer believed it worked after it was performed on her son.

Lawyers for the GDC want the hearing to be adjourned for a week because they say expert evidence Dr Mew’s lawyers want to rely on has been submitted late.

They say this means they have not had enough time to read it so they can cross-examine witnesses effectively.

Dr Mew’s lawyer Stephen Vullo told the hearing his legal team had not been ‘shopping around for experts’ to give evidence in support of him.

He added: ‘There is evidence to support and further what he is saying.’

Mr Vullo also claimed the girl’s mother had been ‘entirely supportive’ of the treatment and was happy with it.

The hearing continues.