how to widen mouth

How to Widen Your Mouth

Having a narrow mouth can be uncomfortable and lead to dental problems. It’s important to have a wide enough mouth to easily chew food and speak clearly. There are various causes of narrow mouths, but it’s possible to widen them through non-surgical and surgical procedures. This article will outline the causes of narrow mouths, the signs that indicate you have one, diagnosis, and different ways to widen your mouth.

Causes of Narrow Mouth

There are several reasons why people have narrow mouths.

  1. Inherited traits: A narrow mouth can run in the family as teeth and jaw structures are passed on from generation to generation.
  2. Habits: Oral habits like thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, and breathing through the mouth can affect patient’s dental health such as not being able grind food properly, which delays digestion.
  3. Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose: When children breathe through their mouth more often than their nose, it affects growth and development of their teeth structure.
  4. Injury or trauma: A physical injury or trauma in face can affect jaw movements leading up to a narrow mouth.

Signs of Narrow Mouth

If you have a narrow mouth, you might display some of the following symptoms:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Difficulty chewing and biting
  • Speech difficulties: Mispronunciation because of the lack of space for the tongue, difficulty annunciation specifically when it comes to ‘S’ and ‘Z’ sounds.
  • Limited jaw movement

Diagnosis of Narrow Mouth

If you suspect you have a narrow mouth, the best thing to do is to visit your dentist or an orthodontist. They will begin by asking you questions about your family history of dental and medical problems. They might also use various imaging tests such as an X-ray or CT scan to assess how narrow your mouth is and what treatment will be most effective.

Non-Surgical Ways to Widen Your Mouth

There are several non-surgical ways of widening your mouth:

Orthodontic Expander

An orthodontic expander is a device that is used by dentists and orthodontists to expand a patient’s mouth. There two types of orthodontic expanders:

  1. Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE): It’s called rapid because it’s designed to produce effects in a short period. Dentists will attach RPEs to the upper molars using metal bands that are very carefully fitted around the teeth. The palatal expander consists of a key that patients turn twice every day for 1 – 2 weeks as instructed by their dentist. Patients can feel pressure and tension on the roof of their mouths because the key activates two halves of the expander attached by a screw that pushes towards each other and widens the mouth. The treatment usually lasts from three months to six months.
  2. Slow Palatal Expander (SPE): SPE terminology has developed over time because research shown more lenient expansions but over longer periods generally produces less pain and no scars, making it the ideal solution for patients who are sensitive or allergic to metal bands.

Process of Expansion

Adjusting the expander at regular intervals: Once your orthodontist fits the RPE, they’ll continue to adjust it every few days or every week. This will ensure that the device is not too loose or too tight on your teeth and gums to maintain optimum work levels.

Length of treatment time: The length of time it takes to use an RPE or SPE depends on each patient’s needs. In most cases, these treatments take about three to six weeks.

Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional therapy works by strengthening and retraining the muscles in the mouth. It can effectively improve speech and oral function. Here is what you should know about this therapy:

  • Explanation: Myofunctional therapy can teach people with narrow mouths how to better position their tongue and lips in a way that encourages dental health and wide-mouth side-effects after periods of continuous practice.
  • Exercises: A dentist or myofunctional practitioner will customize exercises for patients which include breathing techniques, top-of-the mouth tongue positioning, targeted tongue tongue-lip slurping massages, swallowing techniques among others.

Tongue Therapy

If your narrow mouth is caused or exacerbated by an incorrect tongue posture, your orthodontist might recommend tongue therapy to help widen your mouth. Tongue therapy exercises can improve tongue mobility and posture, alleviating symptoms of having a narrow mouth.

  • Explanation: Tongue therapy generally treats oral issues related to tongue movement by re-educating muscles and improving placement of the tongue within the structure of the jawline.
  • Exercises: Exercises are meant to improve function and they can include controlled tongue movements, upper airway resistance exercises, and breath holding exercises.

Surgical Procedures to Widen Your Mouth

If non-surgical methods don’t work to widen your mouth, you will need to undergo a surgical procedure. Here are a few surgical options:

Maxillary Osteotomy

A maxillary osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves repositioning the upper jaw bone. This procedure will be recommended for severe cases that other treatments could not fix.

  1. Explanation: Typically done under general anaesthesia, the surgeon makes precise incisions through the patient’s upper jaw bone known as the Maxilla bone then moves the bone forward or back depending on patients’ unique needs.
  2. Recovery time and side effects: Patients can expect some pain and swelling, but many of them return to normal activities within two weeks after surgery. It can generally take up to three months before patients begin experiencing more favourable outcomes such as eating smiles and speaking more precisely.

Distraction Osteogenesis (DO)

Distraction Osteogenesis is another surgical option aimed at expanding the mouth by working on the lower part of teeth. Here’s what you should know about this procedure:

  1. Explanation: Done with local anaesthesia with sedation, the surgeon cuts through a patient’s chin where screws connect metal plates; wires are used to wire these plates to patients’ teeth or jaws, then begin slow momentum adjustments (usually every 2-3 days) pushing their jaws forward. Eventually new bone will grow and replace all gaps created from movement and healing any incision-scarring eventually.
  2. Recovery time and side effects: You can expect pain, swelling, and discomfort after the operation. Patients typically return to their normal daily routine after a week or so when the initial healing starts taking place.

Aftercare Following Widening Procedures

If you undergo a widening procedure, here’s what you should do during your aftercare:

Pain Management

Pain management is crucial following a surgical or non-surgical procedure. Here are some ways of managing pain:

  1. Medications for pain management: Your dentist or orthodontist will prescribe painkillers to alleviate discomfort after the procedure. It’s important to take medications regularly until your doctor tells you to stop.
  2. Home remedies for pain management: Gently placing a bag of crushed ice on the affected area, gargling with salt water and applying heat pad can alleviate pain and discomfort.

Dietary Changes

The kinds of food you eat also matter when it comes to maintaining oral health. Here are dietary changes that you should observe:

  1. Foods to eat after widening procedure: Opt for squishy or pureed foods, soft meats (like fish and chicken).
  2. Foods to avoid after widening procedure:Avoid spicy and tougher meat that could cause choking hazards; acidic sugary drinks or else they can cause open wounds in mouth to sting.

Follow-up Appointments

Your dentist or orthodontist will require follow-up appointments to check on your progress. They’ll also give you advice on how to maintain oral health. Here’s what you should expect during these appointments:

  1. Importance of follow-up appointments with doctor or dentist after procedure: During your follow-up appointments, your doctor will ensure that your recovery is proceeding well. Any issue should be addressed as soon as possible to guarantee complete recovery.
  2. What to expect during follow-up appointments: During the visits, your doctor will examine mouth structure and tissues, and will perform any necessary adjustments to widening devices if required.


Having a narrow mouth can lead to various dental problems, difficulty speaking, eating and chewing. Identifying the reasons and treating narrow mouths are crucial for better oral health outcomes. Non-invasive treatments such as orthodontic expanders or myofunctional therapy can help reduce symptoms while surgical treatment options like maxillary osteotomy and distraction osteogenesis help enlarge the mouth altogether are more preferred in severe cases. Pain management methods, dietary changes and advice on oral hygiene after such procedures are crucial, too.

If you experience pain or discomfort due to a narrow mouth, don’t hesitate to see your dentist or an orthodontist for advice on how you can widen your mouth.

FAQs on How to Widen Mouth

1. Can I widen my mouth naturally?

Yes, you can! Some exercises help to stretch and strengthen your facial muscles and tissues, making your mouth wider over time.

  • Practice smiling widely for a few seconds, then relax.
  • Press your tongue against your hard palate and slide it backward. Repeat this several times.
  • Place your index finger inside your mouth and gently pull the corners of your mouth outward. Hold for a few seconds and repeat.

2. Is it possible to widen my mouth with braces?

Yes, orthodontic treatment with braces or aligners can help widen the upper jaw and create more space for teeth in cases of narrow arches. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, so consult an orthodontist for personalized advice.

3. Are there any home remedies or natural remedies for widening the mouth?

In addition to exercises, some natural remedies that may help include:

  • Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water to reduce inflammation and soothe soreness
  • Making a paste of turmeric powder and honey and applying it to the corners of your mouth for 10-15 minutes daily
  • Eating crunchy foods like carrots and apples that require you to open your mouth wide

4. Can facial massages help expand my jaw?

Some people believe that massaging specific areas of the face, such as the cheeks, jawline, and temples, can promote blood circulation, reduce tension in muscles, and promote relaxation. However, there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.

5. Can certain medical conditions affect the width of my mouth?

Yes, some medical conditions may cause muscle weakness, atrophy, or contractures that can limit the movement and stretch of your mouth tissues. Examples include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Stroke
  • Facial nerve paralysis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

6. Can I use dental appliances to widen my mouth?

Dental appliances such as expanders or bite plates may be useful for some people with narrow arches or certain bite problems. However, they should only be used under the supervision of a licensed dentist or orthodontist.

7. Is jaw surgery a viable option for widening my mouth?

In some cases, orthognathic surgery may be necessary to correct severe malocclusion or jaw deformities that affect the function and appearance of your mouth. The surgery involves repositioning the upper or lower jaw bones to improve alignment and create more space.

keys takeaways

4 Tips for Widening Your Mouth

If you suffer from a narrow width of the mouth, you may experience difficulty speaking or eating. Fortunately, there are ways to widen your mouth and alleviate this problem.

  1. Stretching exercises: You can do simple exercises such as sticking out your tongue and yawning widely to stretch the muscles around your mouth.
  2. Using tools: A rubber bite block or a mouth prop can help stretch your jaw muscles. Just make sure to use them carefully and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  3. Jaw surgery: In extreme cases, jaw surgery may be necessary to widen the mouth. This procedure is typically reserved for severe deformities or functional problems.
  4. Bite correction: If you have an overbite or underbite, correcting it may ultimately lead to a wider mouth. Consult with an orthodontist to see if bite correction could benefit you.

Remember, always talk to a healthcare professional before attempting any of these methods. With persistence and proper guidance, however, you can widen your mouth and improve your quality of life.