What Is Thumbpulling?

interoral/intraoral facepulling before and after

Are you here to take your mewing game to the next level? Or are you here to learn about this relatively new technique?

Whether it’s both, either, or none, we’re here to give you the information you want.

Thumbpulling is a technique that is similar to mewing in that it is an orthotropic technique that promises the same benefits as mewing.

This technique is used to widen the palate, improve breathing, fix recessed facial features such as a maxilla and chin, and enhance forward growth.

Understanding Thumbpulling

Thumbpulling, also known as interoral face pulling, is an orthotropic technique where you put your thumbs behind your upper gums and pull them outwards, upwards, and forward.

The point of applying these specific forces is to mimic orthodontic and dental devices.

Doing this gives you a more pronounced jawline, cheekbones, and hollow cheeks.

Disclaimer: It is important to note that face-pulling will only enhance your current facial structure, like many orthotropic techniques. It cannot give you certain features.

Thumbpulling is also attributed to palatal expansion by pushing your upper gums outwards. This has appearance-based benefits and affects chewing, breathing, and more.

How To Thumbpull:

To face pull, you must put your thumbs behind your gums at a 45-degree angle. More specifically, press your thumbs at the part where your gums start to curve.

the black arrows represent where both your thumbs should be pushing against

Then push outwards, upwards, and forwards with a medium or strong force for however long you can.

If you feel any pain while doing this, then it’s recommended you stop and adapt your technique to your mouth shape.

You should repeat this for the front, middle, and back of your palate by moving your thumb farther back into the mouth while still keeping the thumbs against the sides of the palate.

It is normal to feel pressure throughout your skull; if the pressure is too much, then lighten the force.

A useful guide for Thumb Pulling:

Benefits of Thumbpulling

While it’s up to you to choose whether or not to begin thumbpulling. There are a notable amount of benefits that prove that face-pulling is something that you should try:

More Tongue Space / Palatal Expansion

When thumbpulling, you’re applying forces on opposite ends of the palate or pushing them outwards.

This causes your palate to shift outwards, leading to a broader palate and more tongue space. This is very beneficial not only for mewing but your general health.

This happens because of the sutures in a palate. A suture is a separation in the bone itself that is held together by tissue.

Moreover, these sutures can actually be widened from forces.

So, when you are thumbpulling, the force that you are applying to the palate is actually widening the sutures and allowing your palate to expand.

This is how you can get more tongue space and a broader palate.

Furthermore, this technique is also beneficial for the health of your teeth.

A narrow palate affects the bite and creates more crowding in our teeth.

By widening your palate with thumbpulling, you can help restore proper teeth alignment and reduce crowding.

diagram of palatal expansion and it’s effect on teeth crowding

Prominent Cheekbones

The most noticeable advantage of bringing your maxilla forward is the prominence of your cheekbones. Your face will no longer be flat, and your cheekbones will be more visible, giving support to the eye

Sharper Jawline

Thumbpulling is a technique that can help move the maxilla up and forward, which can result in a more defined jawline and improved facial appearance.

When the maxilla is recessed, it can cause a lack of support for the lower jaw, making it appear less defined.

By using face-pulling techniques, the maxilla can be moved forward, providing more support to the lower jaw.

Faster progress:

Many people may feel encouraged by the need for more progress from lighter exercises such as mewing.

Thumbpulling can be an alternative way for people who may not benefit from mewing.

This applies to adults whose bones are much harder, and a very subtle force like mewing may not cause any changes.

Thumbpulling Before & After

before and after thumbpulling
more prominent, sharper jaw, better posture, more compact, attractive looking appearance.
thumbpulling before & after
stronger jawline and chin, longer side profile

Thumbpulling Is More Effective For Teenagers

Children and teenagers undergo remodeling of their bones during growth.

The bones during the teenage stage are must more malleable, which makes Orthotropic exercises much more effective in creating a significant craniofacial change.

Adults have more difficulty reshaping their maxilla than teens because they are no longer growing, and the bones have become much more solid.

However, studies have shown that bones can still alter naturally throughout adulthood, even though it takes time.

Are Mewing And Face-pulling Related?

They both strive for the same goal: a more attractive face, wider palates, and better breathing.

However, mewing utilizes the force of the tongue, while thumbpulling uses the thumb and arm to apply force.

The effects that mewing has are small and gradual.

Thumbpulling requires you to pull firmly and temporarily, it is highly beneficial and should be done alongside mewing.

Thumbpulling is a technique that is only done for a few sessions throughout the day, while mewing must be done throughout the entire day. Dedicating some time to face-pulling and returning to mewing may be beneficial.

It’s important to note that thumbpulling and mewing are similar techniques, but mewing is still far more well-known and trusted.

It’s important to be more cautious with thumbpulling as there are few evidential accounts of its effectiveness.

At the end of the day, they’re both cornerstones of Orthotropics, with each technique being just as important as the other.

Risks Associated with Thumbpulling

It’s important to be very cautious when face-pulling. There are very few sources documenting the potential benefits of face-pulling.

However, thumbpulling is recommended by many in the orthotropic community and has close ties with mewing.

When done incorrectly, thumbpulling can lead to irregular growth and symmetry; this happens when you apply more force on one side of your face.

Thumbpulling can also cause a tooth gap caused by palatal expansion; however, palatal expansion is also the primary goal of many orthotropic techniques.

A tooth gap is a good indicator that positive palatal changes are occurring, and it is recommended to use dental devices like Invisalign or braces afterwards.

People have reported experiencing uncommon side effects. Some have heard a popping sound and believe these are sutures (particularly the median and transverse palatine sutures) breaking apart. 

Does Thumbpulling Help Correct a Flat Maxilla Or Chin?

Thumbpulling is primarily used to correct flat maxilla and recessed chin.

This condition occurs when the upper jaw does not grow forward as much as it should, resulting in a flat or recessed appearance, and/or the chin is set far back, leading to certain malocclusions and, most commonly, overbites.

Thumbpulling applies the same forces as orthodontic and dental devices to correct malocclusions.

These forces cause the entire face to become less elongated, which increases forward growth and reduces the severity of a recessed maxilla and chin.

By consistently thumbpulling correctly, you can reduce these common issues attributed to mouth breathing and promote correct facial growth and posture!

The Science Behind Thumbpulling

Without any machinery/appliances or surgery, there is evidence that maxillary movement is possible.

Children, still in their growth phase, can adjust to various bone movements, so it might be easier to achieve this in children than in adults.

When a human skeleton is subjected to excessive load or pressure from beneath, the bones will remodel themselves over time to become stronger in order to resist that pressure.

Experiments were taken on a selective group of adult monkeys, with subtle forces pushed onto their upper palate.

After a few months, these monkeys showed a significant maxillary change.

By the same logic, adults can still alter their facial structure using mewing and thumbpulling.


Although many claim this technique has positive results, there have been reports of side effects.

There is still no clinical evidence to support that thumbpulling can facilitate changes in bone structure.

Like many DIY exercises, thumbpulling may be something you want to try out for yourself.

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