How Fixing Your “Oral Posture” Restores Firmness to Your Face


You already know good body posture is better for your health – stand straight, shoulders back. But there is also good “oral posture” which directly affects your breathing and your face. If you’ve noticed your face looking more saggy or droopy, here’s what you can do about it.

I’ve been sharing nuggets of amazing wisdom from the book, Breath by James Nestor, and this is one most of my adult patients will like. As much as 90% of people in this day and age, because of our diets of soft foods, have jaws that are too narrow which restricts our airways. We compensate with bad oral posture. We crane our necks and curve our shoulders forward to open our airways. It also leads to a droopy face. But we can improve all that with better oral posture, a tongue exercise, and chewing – even before considering orthodontia.

The exercise is called “Mewing” and it’s been a health craze circulated on YouTube…a lot of it with misinformation. The exercise was created by a dentist, Dr. Mike Mew. This video shows the proper way to do it:

It’s easy enough to follow but the purpose behind it is to gently widen your upper palate and force your neck upright into its proper position. Suctioning your tongue to your palate and getting in the habit of keeping it in that position works to improve your posture and breathing.

As for bone loss, Nestor says:
It’s most apparent in our faces. Sagging skin, baggy and hollow eyes, and sallow cheeks all result from bone disappearing and flesh having nowhere to go but down. As bone degrades deeper in the skull, soft tissues at the back of the throat have less to hang on to, so they can droop too, which can lead to airway obstruction. 

We’ve been taught that bone cannot regrow after age 30, but Nester points out in his book that this is simply not true. Our bones are a “use it or lose it” deal and we can regrow bone even as an older adult. Exercising our jaws through rigorous chewing, or simply biting down hard – pressing our lower jaw to upper as an exercise stimulates our stem cells to regrow lost bone in our face and skull. More facial bone creates a firmer, more youthful face.

Nester adds:
Chewing. The more we gnaw, the more stem cells release, the more bone density and growth we’ll trigger, the younger we’ll look and the better we’ll breathe. 

Nester had serious breathing issues due to a narrow jaw. He got a special retainer to widen his palate and after a year, he got x-rays to see if the widening contributed to new bone growth.

The results were stunning. I had gained 1,658 cubic millimeters of new bone in my cheeks and right eye socket, the equivalent volume of five pennies. I’d also added 118 cubic millimeters of bone along my nose, and 178 along my upper jaw. My jaw position became better aligned and balanced. My airways widened and became firmer. The deposit of pus and granulation that had accumulated in my maxillary sinuses, likely the result of mild chronic obstruction, was completely gone. 

As I write this, because of chewing and some widening of my palate, I am breathing more easily and freely than I ever remember. 

He points out a remarkable truth – our noses and mouths are not predetermined by heredity. We can change them, and even reverse damage already caused by our diets and habits. 

If you find yourself looking droopy, having issues breathing, or snoring, come in for a consultation. I would love to help you breathe better, feel better and regain some of your healthier, more youthful face.