Developing your most heroic body part.
So, you have decided to do something about that part of your body that you expose every day, naked, in public.
Yeah, you know what we’re talking about. Maybe you have a soft, flabby one, that makes you feel weak and unmanly, when what you want is a broad, strong, hard one that makes you look and feel powerful, like an elite warrior, an international super-spy, or even a Greek demigod.
That’s right, we’re talking about your jawline.
If you want to build a heroic, defined jawline, the place to begin is Ancient Greece, the land of Leonidas and Achilles, where the closely-guarded secret to a powerful, heroic jawline can be yours:
From ancient times, Greek heroes have been chiseling their jawlines with Chios mastic gum. The Greek word for this gum, mastiha, is where we get the word “masticate”, which means “to chew ”.
That’s the short answer. If you want to rock a rock-hard, well-defined jawline, then you need to start chewing Chios mastic gum as soon as possible. And lucky for you, you don’t need to go all the way to Greece to get it.
In fact, if you insist on only getting the highest quality, purest, and most carefully selected mastic gum available on the market, then you want to order a pack of premium Greco Gum right now.
Of course, if you’re one of those “I need more information” types, then you can go ahead and keep reading. We’re sure we can convince you that Chios mastic gum is the best gum for building the jawline of a Greek hero, and also that Greco Gum is the best mastic gum you can buy.
To understand why building an impressive jawline is such a challenge, we need to take a look at what we’ve got going on under the skin.
Our jaws are made up of the bones of the upper jaw, called the maxilla, and the jawbone, also known as the mandible.
The four major pairs of jaw muscles that move the mandible, and make it possible for you to open and close your mouth, are:
While you want to develop all four of these muscle pairs, it’s the masseter muscles that give the most bang for the bite. The cool thing about the masseter muscles is that they’re incredibly strong, making it possible for you to bite with about the same force as a Doberman pinscher (250 psi).1
That’s also the bad thing about the masseter muscles: they’re incredibly strong, so you’ve got to really work them to make them grow. Just like other stubborn body parts such as the calves and forearms, the masseter muscles respond best to high-rep, high-volume, heavy training.
Also, studies show that training the masseter muscles can actually wake up the stem cells in your face, stimulating the bones in the upper and lower jaw to grow.2
But for that to happen, you’ve got to do a lot of chewing, on some pretty hard stuff.
If humans had never invented agriculture, we wouldn’t need to ask the question. A caveman got plenty of jawline exercise just from eating food. If you had to spend hours every day gnawing on roots and tree bark, cracking nuts, and tearing wooly rhinoceros meat off the bone with your teeth, you’d end up with one hell of a muscular, powerful jawline, too.
Unfortunately, ever since farming replaced foraging, and we started eating softer and mushier cooked foods, our jaws have gotten steadily smaller and weaker, to the point that our mouths aren’t big enough to hold all our teeth. And it only gets worse as we get older: if you don’t have enough bone and muscle to hold up your face, gravity pulls that flabby flesh down into jowls and turkey necks and double chins. Not a heroic look.
Sure, you could adopt a genuine Paleolithic diet, and go back to spending half your day chomping on roots and bark and raw meat like our distant ancestors. But for most of us, chewing gum is a much easier option.
The problem is, not just any gum will do. What you want is a gum that
Once again, a high-quality Chios mastic gum like Greco Gum checks every one of these boxes, but let’s see how well the other contenders stack up.
Fifty years ago, you could go into any store, select from among the five or six brands of gum that were available, and be sure that you were getting a natural product with only a few ingredients. Back then, chewing gum was based on a rubber-like tree sap called chicle. It was flavored with real sugar, mint, cinnamon, or some other natural flavor.
Today, there are thousands of varieties of chewing gum. If you really look hard, you can still find a few brands that use natural ingredient, but most are no longer made from chicle, but instead are manufactured using a mysterious substance called “gum base”.
“Gum base” might contain anything from styrene-butadiene (a synthetic rubber which is also used to make bicycle tires and basketball shoe soles) to vinyl acetate and polyethylene, also used to make glue, paint, and water bottles.
The sugar in the old school chewing gum has been replaced by artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol, sucralose, and aspartame. And most of those delicious, long-lasting flavors are also artificially synthesized in the lab.
Will chewing ordinary chewing gum strengthen your jaw muscles? Sure it will. A study in Japan showed that chewing ordinary sugarless gum five minutes a day for four weeks resulted in an average increase in bite force of over 20 percent.3
Remember, though, that this study was done with test subjects who usually never chewed gum, in a country where a lot of people chew nothing much harder than sushi and ramen noodles.
The take-home point is, chewing on artificially flavored plastic for hours a day is not the smartest health choice you can make, and even the all-natural varieties of gum, when you can find them, are way too soft to provide enough resistance to really build any real muscle in your jaw.
Slightly effective at strengthening jaw muscles
More beneficial than chewing raw fish and noodles
Over on the other end of the hardness spectrum we have a high-tech German gum called Jawliner, made especially for jawline exercises. It bills itself as “hardest chewing gum in the world”, a claim that sounds even more impressive when read in a German accent (“…in ze VÖRLD!”)
The advertisement tells us that if we can manage to chew a chunk of this stuff for 5 to 10 minutes every other day, then not only will we get a more defined jawline, along with an increase in self-confidence, but we can also tighten our skin and reduce wrinkles.
All this, and minty fresh breath too.
Jawliner is definitely harder than the average bubble gum. About fifteen times harder, in fact, And while that might sound good to the “more is always better” types, it ain’t necessarily so.
The problem is your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. Starting your jawline exercise routine with something this hard is a good way to get an inflamed TMJ, with the associated jaw pain, headaches, and clicking jaw.
This is also one of the reasons we don’t really recommend the popular Jawzercize exerciser, as seen on the Joe Rogan podcast. Even if your ego allows you to start out with a gentle resistance model, you end up chewing with your front teeth, where you have poor leverage, which puts too much strain on the jaw hinge, and you get TMJ inflammation.
The other reasons we’re not huge fans of Jawzercise are:
Back to Jawliner gum. Even if it wasn’t hard enough to dislocate your jaw, there are a couple other features we’re not entirely satisfied with.
“100% sugar and aspartame free,” the advertisement tells us, and this is true.
Reading the label we find that the gum is sweetened with maltitol 0965, which indeed is not sugar. It is a sugar alcohol manufactured by hydrogenating corn syrup. It can’t be completely digested, and if you ingest too much, it can cause the rather unheroic side effects of diarrhea and farting.
Which, to its credit, the package does warn us about.
“100% vegan,” the ad goes on to say, and most likely, no animals or trees were harmed to make this product.
Looking at the first ingredient on the list, we find the mysterious “gum base”. This gum is something like fifteen times harder than ordinary gum, so we may safely assume we are not dealing with a natural substance like tree sap, but a super mutant hydrocarbon polymer more closely related to boot soles, truck tires, and water bottles.
But at least they’re vegan boot soles, truck tires, and water bottles.
Too hard for beginning and intermediate chewers
It’s almost time to head back to Greece, to learn more about Chios mastic gum, the clear champion in the jawline exercise gum arena,
But first, let’s take a side trip to Turkey, and have a look at a popular contender, a sugar-free product called Falim gum.
Falim means “fortune”, and it gets its name because the pieces are individually wrapped in paper on which is printed a little fortune message.
Just like a Chinese fortune cookie. Except it’s Turkish. And it’s gum.
Falim gum was already wildly popular in its native country before it was launched into worldwide fame by the mewing community. Mewing is a technique of nasal breathing and continuous tongue pressure against the roof of the mouth, popularized by the maverick British dentists John and Mike Mew. They state that proper oral posture, with the tongue firmly against the palate and lips tightly closed, can widen the jaws, actually reshaping the face.
One technique associated with mewing is called “tongue chewing”, where one flattens a wad of chewing gum against the palate by forcefully pushing with the tongue. Falim gum, being a bit stiffer than regular chewing gum, seemed to be a good fit for this particular job, and the sugar-free aspect made it easy for a dentist to love.
Plus it’s very cheap.
Despite all these advantages, Falim gum is still a bit on the soft side, making it inferior to Chios mastic gum for building any serious muscle. Still, it’s a distant second place, and not a bad alternative.
If you’re on a tight budget, we grudgingly admit that it may be okay for you to chew Falim gum until you can afford Greco Gum.
On the tiny Greek island of Chios, and nowhere else in the world, is cultivated the mastic tree, a handsome little evergreen related to the cashew and the pistachio. The harvest from this tree is not nuts, however, but crystal beads of dried resin, the famous “tears of Chios”.
For over 2500 years, the Chios islanders have tended these precious trees, building entire walled villages to protect them from invaders and robbers. Painstakingly, they cut incisions through the bark until the resin ebbs out, then collect the tears once they have dried and hardened in the Mediterranean sun.
Mastiha, the mastic resin, has a number of uses. Ground fine, it is a subtle yet stately seasoning in Greek cooking. Dissolved in alcohol, it flavors the popular Greek liqueur that bears its name.
Mastic gum has been used as a medicine as far back as the days of Hippocrates. It is a strong antioxidant, also having significant antifungal and antibacterial properties. This makes it very useful for maintaining good oral health, as it kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay. It helps reduce cravings for snacks, which may help promote weight loss, and may even lower LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.3
Best of all, mastiha is the original jawline chewing gum. The word “mastic” shares the same root in Ancient Greek with the word “masticate”, which means “to chew”, so you know they’ve been chewing mastic gum for a long, long time.
Bite down on a pinch of mastic droplets, and after they crunch, releasing their subtle pine-and-cedar aroma, the warmth of your mouth will melt them into a stiff but resilient chewing gum, ten times stiffer than ordinary gum. Keep chewing. Notice how the faint fresh evergreen aroma remains, and also that your jaw muscles are letting you know, in no uncertain terms, that they exist.
When you’ve had enough chewing for the day, don’t throw away that wad of gum; it will wait for you to chew it again.
As you continue regularly chewing, notice how your cravings for snacks are disappearing. After only a few weeks you may notice that your face seems to be changing. Your features seem more pronounced, your cheeks less puffy, your jawline sharper and more defined.
Like Theseus and Perseus before you, you are making your hero’s journey, one strong chomp at a time.
In the old days, the only way to get the treasured Chios mastic gum was to brave the waves of the wine-dark sea, make your way to one of the fortified island villages, and drive hard bargains with the shrewd villagers for your small share of their limited supplies.
It has gotten less perilous since then, but it’s still not easy. There are not so many mastic trees in the world, not so much resin to be had. Go onto Amazon, and you’ll find plenty of the cheap stuff, but not a whole lot of the good stuff.
And if you insist on only getting the highest quality, purest, and most carefully selected mastic gum, then you’ll want to be patient, pay a bit more, and get yourself a pack of premium Greco Gum.
You’ll notice the Greco Gum difference before you even take your first pinch of mastic droplets. You’ll admire the robust, beautiful blue and yellow steel box, which protects your precious tears of Chios so much better than those flimsy vinyl bags and plastic containers that other companies use.
Break the freshness seal, prise open the lid, and notice that the box is filled to the brim: other companies might send you a container that’s only partially filled… or even mostly empty.
Take a closer look at those golden crystals. Notice how the light passes through them. Some companies will actually try to pass off cheap frankincense as mastic gum, but don’t be fooled: Genuine mastic gum is translucent.
The small size of the droplets ensure that they maintain their hardness and solidity during shipping, while the softly rounded texture means they've been thoroughly cleaned. You’ll never find bits of dirt or tree bark in a box of Greco Gum:
Now put a pinch of those golden droplets on your tongue and crunch them between your teeth. In a very short time, you will realize that not only have you found the best gum to develop a heroic jawline, you have also found the best of the best.
Your hero’s journey awaits.
This article originally appeared online in 2023; it was most recently updated on August 10, 2023, to include current information.
Shirai M, Kawai N, Hichijo N, Watanabe M, Mori H, Mitsui SN, Yasue A, Tanaka E. Effects of gum chewing exercise on maximum bite force according to facial morphology. Clin Exp Dent Res. 2018 Feb 22;4(2):48-51. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. ↩
Kartalis A, Didagelos M, Georgiadis I, Benetos G, Smyrnioudis N, Marmaras H, Voutas P, Zotika C, Garoufalis S, Andrikopoulos G. Effects of Chios mastic gum on cholesterol and glucose levels of healthy volunteers: A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, pilot study (CHIOS-MASTIHA). Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2016 May;23(7):722-9. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. ↩ ↩2