What if having an attractive face isn’t determined solely but genetics, but rather by where your tongue is resting in your mouth? Crazy, I know. What could the location of your tongue possibly have to do with good bone structure? Well, as it turns out, everything.
About a year ago I learned there is such a thing as correct mouth posture (thanks to a random video YouTube recommended to me). When your mouth is at rest, your lips should be together, your top and bottom molars should be touching, and your tongue should be plastered to the roof of your mouth. Until a year ago, I had never given any thought to what my mouth was doing at rest. Little did I know, I was violating all three of the above rules for correct mouth posture, and it was affecting my body and my facial structure. I had been a mouth breather my entire life, and at rest, my mouth was slightly open, my teeth were apart, and my tongue was sitting at the bottom of my mouth. I had no idea being a mouth breather wasn’t normal, I just thought that’s how some people were.
There are two very important reasons to have correct mouth posture:
1, for proper facial development, including straight teeth that don’t need braces.
2, by keeping your mouth closed, this forces you to breathe through your nose, which has important benefits for your body that I will cover in a separate post.
Why Are Some People Mouth Breathers?
We’re supposed to adopt correct oral posture as babies; it’s something babies do naturally. So why do some children become mouth breathers? Allergies, be they food or environmental, which lead to a stuffed up nose and no other choice but to breathe through the mouth. Using sippy cups and pacifiers forces the tongue to rest on the bottom of the mouth. Same with thumb sucking. These promote incorrect mouth postures which then become a chronic habit. Another theory I came across is that because our diet has become so soft, we’re not using our jaw muscles to chew our food nearly as much as we used to, leading to weak jaw muscles that aren’t strong enough to keep our mouths shut. There might be something to that, because I can keep my mouth closed during the day by consciously thinking about it, but my mouth still falls open when I’m sleeping.
Mouth Breathing and Its Effects on Facial Structure
Below are examples of children who had incorrect oral posture from mouth breathing and you can see the dramatic effects it has on facial development. The “after” photos are after establishing correct oral posture through Orthotropic treatment.
What Makes a Face Attractive?
So, how does mouth posture shape our faces? And if we analyze the faces of attractive people, what specifically makes them good-looking? The key is the maxilla, aka the upper jaw bone, and how far forward in the face it is. If mouth posture is correct, the constant force of the tongue on the roof of the mouth pushes the maxilla forwards, creating attractive, wide faces with straight teeth, prominent cheekbones, and eyes that look present and awake and not sunken. The force of the tongue on the roof of the mouth is what guides the face to grow horizontally instead of vertically.
Before and after correct mouth posture is established through orthotropic treatment-note how when the maxilla comes forwards, the face widens.
Katy Perry vs. Candice Swanepoel: who do you think has better mouth posture?
How the Tongue Shapes the Maxilla
The maxilla, or upper jaw (highlighted in green on the skull above) doesn’t just anchor the top set of teeth, it’s also where the sinus cavity, cheekbones, and part of the eye sockets are. When your tongue is on the roof of your mouth, it’s applying pressure to the maxilla, supporting its forward horizontal growth and preventing it from sinking back in your skull. When the maxilla moves forward, it’s also bringing forward all those other parts of the face attached to it, like the eyes and cheekbones, and widening the sinuses, creating more room to breathe. It’s crazy to think that the tongue could be strong enough to cause such dramatic changes in bone structure. But this is Wolff’s Law at work: Wolff’s Law states that bone grows and remodels in response to the forces that are placed upon it.
If the tongue is resting on the floor of the mouth, as it must in order to mouth breathe, the cheek muscles compress the dental arches from the sides since the tongue is not providing a counterbalance on the roof of the mouth. This squishes the face inwards and makes it long and narrow, and also causes crowding of teeth. In addition, with the mouth open and tongue on the bottom, the lower jaw automatically hangs down and backwards. A perfect visual explanation of this is the photos below. This is the same boy, before and after developing an allergy to a pet hamster which blocked his nose and forced him to breathe through his mouth.
Changing My Own Face
After recognizing my own facial structure in some of the above mouth breather pictures, and seeing that change was possible, I started a personal experiment. I shut my mouth, kept my teeth together, and plastered my tongue to the roof of my mouth. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting my face to change that much. I had read that it’s harder as an adult than as a child to see as dramatic results because our bones aren’t as malleable. But I was still curious if anything would happen, and I’ve taken pictures of my face every month or so for the past year from different angles. My results are only from changing my mouth posture; there are additional exercises some people do/some people actually have Orthotropic treatment done. My face has changed quite a bit in the last year and seems to still be changing. See below pictures.
If you are self conscious about your face, as I was, a simple change in mouth posture could make a huge difference. I have seen pretty dramatic results in my own face from when I started a year ago in terms of my maxilla coming forwards, and with it my cheekbones and eyes (which look less sleepy and more alert). My lower jaw has come forwards because it isn’t forced down and backwards from my tongue sitting in the bottom of my mouth. I also think my airways in my nose have expanded because it’s easier to breathe through my nose than it was when I first started. Keeping my mouth closed isn’t so hard, but keeping my tongue on the roof of my mouth requires pretty much constant thought. Correct mouth posture still doesn’t come naturally, which makes sense since I am trying to change a 23-year habit. Once I figure out how to keep my mouth closed while I’m sleeping, 24/7, I’m sure the results will be even more dramatic. I might have to try taping my lips closed.
We aren’t necessarily stuck with the face we have: we have the ability to reshape our faces to not only look better, but function better. I believe beauty and health go hand in hand. Having great bone structure and an “attractive face” is important not just for superficial reasons. As a result of proper mouth posture resulting in facial beauty, we breathe through our noses instead of our mouths (which also has a lot of health benefits I will cover in another post), we are able to chew and swallow food properly, and there is literally more room for our brains in our skulls. Also, I read an interesting tidbit that the pressure of the tongue on the roof of your mouth activates the pituitary gland, which sits in the saddle of the sphenoid bone right behind your eyes. The tongue constantly “milks” the pituitary gland of its hormones by causing the sphenoid bone to rotate. I need to research more on that topic but thought that was an interesting point.
“Melting Faces” that are long and narrow and have crowded teeth do not occur in traditional hunter-gatherer societies, where people naturally possess wide faces with great bone structure and straight teeth, despite a lack of dental care. Something about the way we live today is disrupting our ability to develop proper mouth posture. But we can start to reclaim our faces by remembering these three simple things: lips together, teeth together, tongue on the roof of your mouth.
May 2015, December 2016, July 2017. I’ll try to get a better picture with the same lighting, but hopefully you can at least see how far back my cheekbones were and my eyes essentially had no support from them. Also how my lower jaw was farther back. Also, I wish I could post comparison pictures of the front of my face, but since it’s the internet…
This is an entire blog devoted to adult face remodeling without plastic surgery, and my number one influence for this topic: http://claimingpower.com/
Article on how mouth breathing affects your overall health and facial structure: http://bit.ly/29MLP09
Orthotropics website :http://orthotropics.com/