The mylohyoid is a flat triangular-shaped muscle that begins at the jawbone and extends to the hyoid bone between the neck and chin. The mylohyoid muscle functions to depress the jawbone, elevate the hyoid bone and raise the floor of the mouth. Over time this muscle may begin to weaken, which may cause difficulty in swallowing or create the appearance of a "double chin." Before you turn to cosmetic surgery or invest in expensive skin-firming creams, practice mylohyoid-toning exercises as part of a plan to improve or prevent muscle slackness in the neck and chin.
Chin-ups help firm the mylohyoid and are performed while standing or seated. Lift and tilt your head until you are looking at the ceiling or sky. Push your lower jar out and up until you feel the stretch under your chin. Hold this position for 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat twice.
To reduce fat stored in the lower jaw area, routinely perform tongue touches. Look up at the ceiling or sky and open your mouth as wide as possible. While doing so, attempt to touch your chin with your tongue. Hold this for a few seconds before releasing the tension in your tongue and closing your mouth. Repeat this twice more.
The Pseudo Chew
The pseudo chew is another exercise that can effectively tone the mylohyoid. It can be performed while standing or seated. Lift and tilt your head until you are looking at the ceiling or sky. While your lips are closed, pretend to chew while your chin faces upward. You will feel the burn beneath your jaw as you continue to chew 15 to 20 times before lowering your head and releasing the tension. Repeat this a few times throughout the day. Actual chewing can help, too -- chewing gum regularly can help strengthen the mylohyoid.
Kiss the Sky
Mimicking a kiss to the sky will work the mylohyoid. While standing or seated, lift and tilt your head until you are looking at the ceiling or sky. Attempt to "kiss" the sky by puckering your lips as far as they can extend. Concentrate on moving the lips only, and hold this position for five to 10 seconds before releasing the tension and lowering your head. Repeat five times. This will tone the muscles in your jaw and neck.
Sagging neck skin and fat storage in the chin area is often the result of being overweight, poor posture, genetics or aging. If you're interested in tightening this area, understand that the muscles of the face and neck are especially difficult to tone. With proper diet, an overall reduction of body fat through regular aerobic activity and daily practice of these facial exercises, you can expect to see a noticeable difference in one to two months.
Candace Smith is a natural health and skincare enthusiast, and has written professionally since 2005. Smith is a 2008 graduate of the Indiana University School of Journalism and currently manages the Forsheismorelovely.com beauty and wellness blog.