Does Chewing on One Side Make It Bigger? The Truth Revealed

Have you ever heard the old wives’ tale that chewing on one side of your mouth will make that side of your face bigger? Maybe you’ve been skeptical, thinking it’s just a myth. Well, the truth is, there might be some truth to it. While the idea that it will significantly alter the shape of your face is exaggerated, there are some ways that chewing on one side could affect your appearance and even your health.

For starters, chewing on one side of your mouth can cause the muscles on that side to become stronger and more developed. Over time, as these muscles work harder than the ones on the other side, they can become noticeably bigger. However, this effect isn’t going to be so drastic that you end up looking lopsided. But it does raise the question: why would someone want to develop bigger chewing muscles in the first place?

Aside from aesthetics, stronger chewing muscles can actually have some health benefits too. For example, they can help improve digestion by breaking down food more effectively. Also, studies show that people who have weaker chewing muscles are more likely to experience cognitive decline as they get older. With all this in mind, it seems there might be some merit to the notion that chewing on one side might be good for you—so long as you do it in moderation.

The Anatomy of the Jaw Muscles

Before delving into the topic of whether chewing on one side can make it bigger, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of the jaw muscles. The jaw muscles, also known as the masticatory muscles, consist of four primary muscles:

  • The Masseter Muscle – This muscle is the strongest muscle in the body and is responsible for closing the jaw during chewing.
  • The Temporalis Muscle – Located on the sides of the skull, this muscle is responsible for moving the lower jaw backward and reinforcing it as it closes.
  • The Medial Pterygoid Muscle – This muscle is located deep in the jaw, near the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and is responsible for moving the jaw from side to side during chewing.
  • The Lateral Pterygoid Muscle – This muscle also located near the TMJ, is responsible for opening the jaw, and moving it forward during chewing.

Together, the masticatory muscles play a vital role in the process of mastication – the act of chewing food. They enable us to crush and grind the food, making it easier to swallow and facilitating digestion.

The function of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex joint located on each side of the jaw that connects the lower jawbone (mandible) to the skull. It is responsible for enabling the jaw to move up and down, side to side, and forward and backward. The TMJ is one of the most frequently used joints in the body, allowing us to talk, chew, and yawn. The TMJ is also surrounded by various muscles, nerves, and ligaments, which all play a role in the joint’s function.

  • The TMJ is a hinge joint that enables the jaw to move up and down like a hinge. This joint is located in front of the ear on each side of the head and connects the jawbone to the skull.
  • The TMJ contains a small disc that acts as a cushion between the bones and allows for smooth, pain-free movement. The disc can become displaced, however, which can lead to TMJ disorders.
  • The muscles that control the TMJ are some of the strongest and most active in the body. They are responsible for moving the jaw during chewing, talking, and swallowing.

Overall, the TMJ plays a crucial role in our daily lives, and any disorder or dysfunction of this joint can cause pain and discomfort, affecting our ability to eat, speak, and function. Maintaining good oral health and avoiding bad habits, such as teeth grinding and clenching, can help prevent TMJ disorders and complications.

Below is a table that outlines the different types of TMJ disorders and their symptoms:

Type of TMJ Disorder Symptoms
Myofascial Pain Discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw movement, tenderness in the jaw, face, or neck, pain in or around the ear, difficulty opening or closing the mouth.
Internal Derangement Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw, pain in the jaw joint, limited jaw movement, lockjaw.
Arthritis Pain in the joint, stiffness, swelling, tenderness, limited jaw movement.

It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, as early intervention can help prevent further damage and improve your quality of life.

The effects of chewing on the mandible

Chewing is a fundamental human behavior that stimulates the muscles in the jaw, primarily the masseter muscle, which is responsible for the movement of the mandible or the lower jaw bone. The mandible is the largest and strongest bone of the face and forms the lower jaw, serving as one of the major components of the skull.

Here are the effects of chewing on the mandible:

  • Muscle hypertrophy: Chewing on one side of the mouth predominantly can result in muscle asymmetry, causing the masseter muscle on the heavily used side to become more developed and stronger than the opposite side. This phenomenon is known as muscle hypertrophy, which can increase the width of the mandible, making it appear larger and more prominent.
  • Bone growth: Regular and consistent chewing can stimulate bone growth in the mandible, especially in children and adolescents whose bones are actively developing. This bone growth may also result in an increase in bone density, which can reduce the risk of fractures or breakage in the future.
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders: Overusing the masseter muscle on one side of the mouth can put excessive stress on the TMJ, the joint responsible for the movement of the jaw bone. This can lead to TMJ disorders, which can cause jaw pain, clicking sounds, or difficulty in opening the mouth. A balanced chewing habit can prevent or alleviate TMJ disorders.

While chewing on one side of the mouth can contribute to the enlargement of the mandible, it is essential to maintain a balanced chewing habit to ensure the proper development and health of the mandible and the associated structures.

The impact of unbalanced chewing on dental health

Our teeth are an essential part of our overall health, and unbalanced chewing can have a significant impact on dental health. When you chew on one side, the excess force you put on those teeth can cause them to wear down faster than the teeth on the other side. This uneven wear can lead to a number of dental issues, including:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease

In addition to the above dental issues, chewing on one side can also cause jaw pain, headaches, and other chronic problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

When you chew on one side more often than the other, you’re also neglecting some of your teeth. These neglected teeth may not get the stimulation they need to maintain their strength and density, leading to a higher risk of cavities and decay.

If left untreated, cavities and decay can lead to more significant dental problems like gum disease and tooth loss. So, it’s essential to maintain a balanced chewing pattern to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy.

Dental Issues Caused by Unbalanced Chewing Dental Issues Caused by Balanced Chewing
Uneven teeth wear Even teeth wear
Tooth sensitivity Less tooth sensitivity
Tooth decay Lower risk of tooth decay
Gum disease Lower risk of gum disease
TMJ pain Less TMJ pain

To promote balanced chewing, try to alternate which side you chew on and be mindful of your chewing habits. It’s also beneficial to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist to catch any dental issues early and prevent them from getting worse.

Differences in the size and strength of the masseter muscle

The masseter muscle is one of the primary muscles used for chewing food. It is located at the side of the face, just in front of the ear, and is responsible for moving the jaw up and down. The size and strength of this muscle can vary greatly between individuals, and can be influenced by a number of factors.

  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Age
  • Sleeping position
  • Dental habits (such as teeth grinding and jaw clenching)

For some people, the masseter muscle may be larger and stronger on one side of the face compared to the other. This can occur for a number of reasons, including the way the person chews their food.

It is thought that chewing on one side of the mouth more frequently than the other can lead to uneven growth of the masseter muscle. This is because the muscle is being used more on one side, which can cause it to hypertrophy (increase in size) over time.

However, it is important to note that this theory is still being debated among experts in the field. Some studies have found evidence to support the idea that chewing on one side can cause the masseter muscle to grow larger on that side, while others have found no significant difference in muscle size between the left and right sides of the face.

Factors that can affect masseter muscle size and strength: Possible impact on muscle growth:
Genetics May dictate a person’s muscle size and growth potential
Diet Poor nutrition can result in weaker muscles, while a protein-rich diet can support muscle growth
Age Muscle mass naturally declines with age, but resistance training can help offset this effect
Sleeping position Repeatedly sleeping on one side of the face may cause uneven muscle growth
Dental habits Teeth grinding and jaw clenching can place extra strain on the masseter muscle, causing it to grow larger and stronger

In general, the size and strength of the masseter muscle can be influenced by a combination of factors, and there is still much to be learned about the precise mechanisms that lead to muscle growth. However, it is clear that the way a person chews their food can have some impact on the size and strength of the masseter muscle.

The Relationship Between Chewing and Facial Asymmetry

It’s no secret that the act of chewing can have an impact on the shape of your face. Studies have shown that chewing on one side of the mouth more than the other can lead to facial asymmetry, which is when one side of the face looks different from the other side.

  • This occurs because the constant pressure on one side of the face leads to the development of stronger muscles on that side.
  • Over time, this can cause the face to become more pronounced on one side and less pronounced on the other.
  • In some cases, this can even lead to functional problems, such as difficulty chewing or speaking due to an imbalance in the jaw muscles.

It’s important to note that facial asymmetry can also be caused by other factors, such as genetics or injury. However, chewing on one side of the mouth is one of the most common causes of this condition.

If you suspect that your chewing habits are leading to facial asymmetry, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the issue. One option is to consciously make an effort to chew on both sides of your mouth evenly. This can help to balance out the development of your facial muscles and reduce the appearance of asymmetry.

Another option is to seek treatment from a specialist, such as an orthodontist or maxillofacial surgeon. These experts can provide targeted interventions to address the underlying causes of facial asymmetry and improve the appearance and function of the jaw and surrounding structures.

Causes of Facial Asymmetry Description
Genetics Some people are born with facial asymmetry due to differences in the structure of their bones and muscles.
Injury Any trauma to the face, such as a broken bone or other injury, can cause one side of the face to look different from the other.
Chewing Habits As discussed, uneven chewing habits can cause facial asymmetry over time.
Neurological Conditions In rare cases, facial asymmetry can be caused by neurological conditions such as Bell’s palsy or cerebral palsy.

Overall, the relationship between chewing and facial asymmetry is complex and multifaceted. While chewing on one side of the mouth can contribute to this condition, it is not always the sole cause. By understanding the various factors that can contribute to facial asymmetry and seeking appropriate treatment when necessary, individuals can take steps to maintain a healthy, balanced appearance that supports optimal oral and facial function.

The role of genetics in jaw muscle development

Genetics play a crucial role in determining jaw muscle development. Studies have shown that certain genes are linked to the size and strength of jaw muscles. The myosin heavy chain (MHC) gene, for example, is responsible for the production of the protein that makes up the majority of muscle fibers. Variations in this gene have been linked to differences in jaw muscle size and strength.

Additionally, research has found that individuals with larger masseter muscles (one of the key muscles involved in chewing) tend to have a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers. Fast-twitch fibers contract more quickly and powerfully than slow-twitch fibers, and are better suited for short bursts of intense activity, such as chewing tough foods.

While genetics may play a significant role in jaw muscle development, it’s important to note that environmental factors also impact muscle size and strength. Factors such as diet, exercise, and overall health can all affect the development of jaw muscles.

Environmental factors that impact jaw muscle development

  • Diet – A diet high in protein can help to promote muscle growth, while a diet lacking in essential nutrients can hinder muscle development.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise can help to strengthen the muscles involved in chewing, leading to increased muscle size and strength.
  • Overall health – Certain medical conditions or medications can impact muscle development. Poor oral health, for example, can lead to a weaker bite and smaller jaw muscles.

The impact of chewing on one side

While it’s true that chewing on one side more frequently can result in uneven muscle development, it’s important to remember that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, studies have shown that larger masseter muscles on one side of the jaw can actually provide benefits such as:

  • Reduced risk of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
  • Improved ability to chew tough foods
  • Stronger bite force on one side

However, if the uneven muscle development is causing aesthetic concerns or discomfort, there are exercises that can be performed to even out the muscle size and improve overall jaw function. A qualified healthcare provider or dentist can recommend specific exercises based on an individual’s needs.


Genetics can have a significant impact on jaw muscle development, but environmental factors such as diet and exercise also play a crucial role. While chewing on one side more frequently can result in uneven muscle development, it can also provide certain benefits. If uneven muscle size is causing concerns, exercises can be performed to improve muscle symmetry and overall jaw function.

The connection between chewing and stress relief

Many people chew gum as a way to relieve stress or anxiety. But did you know that there is an actual connection between chewing and stress relief? In this article, we’ll explore the science behind why chewing may help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

The science behind chewing and stress relief

  • When we chew, our brains release endorphins, which are natural pain relievers that also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Chewing also increases blood flow to the brain, which can help to improve cognitive function and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Chewing gum can also help to reduce cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress, and high levels of cortisol can lead to a variety of health problems over time.

Chewing on one side: Does it make it bigger?

There is a common myth that chewing on one side of your mouth can make that side of your face bigger or more developed than the other. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this idea.

While it’s true that chewing causes the muscles in your jaw to work, and over time this can lead to a more defined jawline, there is no evidence that chewing on one side of your mouth would create a significant difference between the two sides of your face.

Alternative stress relief techniques

If you’re looking for alternative stress relief techniques beyond chewing gum, there are many options to consider. Some popular methods include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Spending time in nature


Chewing gum may be a simple and effective way to reduce stress and anxiety, and there is evidence to support the idea that chewing can have a positive impact on cognitive function and overall health. However, it’s important to remember that there are many different ways to manage stress and anxiety, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you’re struggling with stress or anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional or mental health provider for help and support.

Pros Cons
-Chewing gum can provide quick stress relief -Gum chewing can become a habit that can be difficult to stop
-Chewing gum can improve cognitive function -Excessive gum chewing can lead to jaw pain and headaches
-Chewing gum may help to reduce cortisol levels in the body -Some types of chewing gum may contain artificial sweeteners that can cause digestive issues or other health problems

Overall, while there are some potential downsides to chewing gum as a stress relief technique, it can be a useful tool for many people when used in moderation.

The Effects of Age on Jaw Muscle Mass and Function

As we age, muscle mass and function tend to decline throughout the body, including the jaw muscles. This can result in weaker chewing ability and may contribute to changes in the shape and size of the jaw. Here’s what you need to know about the effects of age on jaw muscle mass and function:

  • Studies have shown that starting around the age of 30, there is a gradual decline in muscle mass and strength in the jaw muscles.
  • Reduced muscle mass can make it more difficult to chew tough foods and may contribute to a decrease in nutrient absorption from our food.
  • Changes in the jaw muscles can also lead to changes in the shape and size of the jaw over time. This can contribute to a more sunken-in appearance, sometimes referred to as facial collapse.

However, it is important to note that regular use of the jaw muscles through activities like chewing and speaking can help maintain muscle mass and function. This is why maintaining good oral hygiene and eating a healthy, balanced diet is crucial for maintaining jaw health as we age.

So while chewing on one side may not necessarily make it larger, it is important to maintain balance and strength in both sides of the jaw to promote overall health and function.

Age Loss of Muscle Mass (Jaw) Loss of Muscle Strength (Jaw)
30 ~5% ~5%
50 ~15% ~15%
70 ~25% ~25%

As we can see from the table, the loss of muscle mass and strength in the jaw increases with age. This highlights the importance of maintaining strong and healthy jaw muscles through regular use and proper nutrition throughout our lives.

The potential benefits and drawbacks of jawline exercises.

Jawline exercises have become quite popular in recent years as people have become more concerned with their facial appearance. Most of the exercises that people do target the jaw area in an effort to enhance their jawline and make it more visible.

While there are some benefits to doing jawline exercises, there are also some drawbacks to consider. In this section, we will discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of jawline exercises.

  • Benefits of Jawline Exercises:
  • Improves Jawline Definition: One of the main benefits of jawline exercises is that they can help to improve the definition of your jawline. By targeting the muscles in the jaw area, you can make your jawline more visible and defined.

  • Reduces Double Chin: Jawline exercises can also help to reduce the appearance of a double chin. The muscles in the jaw area are connected to the muscles in the neck, and by strengthening the jaw muscles, you can also tone the neck muscles and reduce the appearance of a double chin.

  • No Equipment Needed: Jawline exercises can be done anywhere and at any time without the need for equipment. This makes them a convenient option for anyone looking to improve their jawline.

While there are some benefits to doing jawline exercises, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

  • Drawbacks of Jawline Exercises:
  • No Scientific Evidence: While some people claim that jawline exercises work, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. It is important to keep in mind that results may vary from person to person.

  • Possible Jaw Pain: If you do jawline exercises incorrectly or excessively, you may experience pain or discomfort in the jaw area. It is important to listen to your body and stop exercising if you experience any pain.

  • Not a Substitute for Weight Loss: Jawline exercises are not a substitute for weight loss. If you have excess fat around your jawline, no amount of exercise will make it disappear. You will need to lose weight overall, and then exercise can help to tone and define your jawline.

Overall, jawline exercises can be a helpful addition to your workout routine if you want to improve the definition of your jawline. However, it is important to keep in mind that they are not a magic solution, and results may vary depending on your body type and other factors.

Pros Cons
– Improves Jawline Definition – No Scientific Evidence
– Reduces Double Chin – Possible Jaw Pain
– No Equipment Needed – Not a Substitute for Weight Loss

Before beginning any new exercise routine, including jawline exercises, it is recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe for you to do so.

FAQs: Does chewing on one side make it bigger?

1. Is it true that chewing on one side of your mouth can make it bigger than the other?

There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. While chewing on one side may result in stronger muscles on that side, it is unlikely to cause noticeable size differences.

2. Can chewing on one side lead to health problems?

Chewing on one side can cause overuse and strain on the muscles, leading to discomfort and pain. It is recommended to try to chew evenly on both sides to prevent any potential health issues.

3. Does teeth alignment affect chewing symmetry?

Yes, alignment issues can affect how evenly you chew your food. If you have an uneven bite or misaligned teeth, it can impact the amount of force your jaws use and cause you to chew more on one side.

4. Can chewing gum solve this issue?

Chewing gum can actually worsen the problem by overexerting the facial muscles on one side. It is best to try to chew healthy foods evenly on both sides of your mouth to maintain balance.

5. Is there any way to change the size of your facial muscles?

While exercise and weight training can increase muscle mass, it is not recommended to try to alter the size of your facial muscles. It can cause facial asymmetry and other issues.

6. Should I see a dentist if I have chewing problems?

Yes, it is recommended to see a dentist if you are experiencing any discomfort or pain while chewing, or if you have any dental issues that may be contributing to the problem.

7. Can facial asymmetry be corrected by orthodontic treatment?

In some cases, orthodontic treatment such as braces or Invisalign can correct alignment issues and improve facial symmetry. However, it depends on the individual case, and a consultation with a dental professional would be necessary to determine if this is an appropriate solution.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article has answered some of your questions about whether chewing on one side makes it bigger. While there is no evidence to suggest that it does, overuse can lead to discomfort and health issues. If you are experiencing any problems with chewing or facial symmetry, we recommend seeing a dental professional for an evaluation. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you again soon!