If you’ve lost your ability to whistle, the most likely cause is a change in the shape of your mouth.
Losing the ability to whistle can be confusing, especially if it’s something you used to be able to do with such ease.
Unfortunately, this is something that can happen to anyone.
It doesn’t matter how great you used to be at whistling because no one is immune to losing this ability.
There are a number of underlying causes which could prevent you from being able to whistle.
It may not always be easy, but in most cases, you should be able to regain this skill.
First, you have to find out what stands in the way of you and being able to whistle again.
Here are ten possible reasons you’re no longer able to whistle.
Why Can’t I Whistle Anymore?
1. You’ve Had Dental Work Done
Being able to whistle is something that’s very dependent on the shape of your mouth.
Much like speaking, whistling requires a particular shape and configuration of the mouth.
Why can certain species of bird speak when others can’t?
Sure, they’re smart, but it ultimately comes down to biological design.
Dolphins, elephants, and crows are all intelligent enough to speak, but they lack the oral features to do so.
As a human, you might think that everyone can whistle.
Maybe you’re thinking that because you could once whistle, surely you can’t lose that ability.
Sadly, when it comes to something like whistling or even speaking, past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
If you’ve had dental work done, you may find that your speech has changed.
You may not have forgotten how to whistle, but you’ve discovered you can’t produce the sound anymore.
Similar to the elephant, dolphin, and crow, you have the know-how, but you lack the physical ability.
Dental work can result in significant changes to our oral composition.
These changes are often the reason behind a loss of the ability to whistle or make certain sounds.
2. You’ve Had Orthodontic Work Done
If you’ve had orthodontic work done and can’t whistle anymore, there’s a high probability that the two are linked.
Orthodontics are designed to address problems with the alignment of your teeth and jaw.
In some cases, orthodontics are used to address and resolve cosmetic issues.
In most situations, however, orthodontics are needed to treat current alignment issues or prevent future problems with a person’s teeth and jaw.
Braces are commonly used to straighten teeth by closing gaps or spreading crowded teeth further apart from each other.
Did you learn to whistle before you got the braces?
If so, it’s possible you were whistling by pushing air through one of the gaps in your teeth.
Since you now have braces (or if you had braces), those gaps may be closed, blocking airflow.
Without air being squeezed through the gap in your teeth, you won’t be able to whistle.
Even if you’ve only just gotten your aligners and still have gaps in your teeth, you might still be unable to whistle.
In this situation, the reason is that the plastic aligners are still impeding air from flowing through the gaps.
Maybe you have a temporary or permanent retainer.
Again, you may find yourself unable to whistle for two reasons.
First, the orthodontics have changed the shape of your mouth.
Second, the metal wire could be blocking the air from being squeezed through any gaps.
3. You Haven’t Practiced In A While
Think about something you used to be able to do but can’t do well anymore.
Perhaps you used to play an instrument or speak a different language.
If you haven’t practiced in years, you can’t expect to be very good at it.
Our bodies are designed to respond to what we do often.
That’s why you have to train and practice to develop a new ability or skill.
The more you practice, the more muscle memory you develop.
For a lucky few, whistling is like riding a bike.
No matter how long they go without whistling, they can belt one out at a moment’s notice.
Maybe they practiced for hundreds of hours and developed an incredible muscle memory.
Perhaps they’re just naturally gifted, in which case, they didn’t need much practice to begin with.
For many others, however, whistling can be a challenge that requires practice.
This is often the case for people learning to whistle for the first time.
We all have that friend who could basically whistle on the first try without any effort.
For some of us, though, whistling took many frustrating hours of practice and trial and error.
We all have different abilities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses.
You’ve heard people say practice makes perfect, and for better or worse, whistling is no exception to this rule.
Everyone whistles differently, and the answer to your lost whistle may be as simple as needing to practice.
4. You’re Trying Too Hard
When you used to be able to whistle and you can’t anymore, it can be very frustrating.
Whistling is a delicate art that requires a perfect balance to strike the signature, attention-grabbing, high-pitched note.
If you’re finding that you can’t whistle anymore, you may be trying too hard.
Specifically, you may be forcing too much air through your mouth.
Whistling doesn’t require you to push hard.
In fact, whistling is rather delicate, unless you’re using your fingers or hands to whistle.
Pushing too hard when you’re trying to whistle can result in an awkward blast of air.
It’s important to control the amount of air you use to make a whistling sound.
If you don’t exercise control, you’ll just end up breathing heavily.
Like so many other exercises, it’s important to regulate your output, lest you overexert.
Stay patient and keep trying until you succeed, but remember to be patient and persistent, rather than pushing harder and overdoing it.
5. You’re Not Using The Proper Technique
While there may be a more traditional technique to whistling, there are actually a number of ways to whistle.
What works for one person may not work for everyone.
If you’ve lost your ability to whistle, you’re probably trying to reproduce the technique you used to successfully whistle the first time.
Unfortunately, this may not be the best technique for you now.
This is especially relevant if you’ve experienced some sort of changes in your mouth shape.
As mentioned earlier, maybe you had a dental procedure done or you got braces.
Well, your mouth has now changed, so you might have to change the way you whistle to accommodate those changes.
There are a few different ways to whistle, so it’s possible you have to try them all to rediscover your lost skill.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as pulling air in while puckering instead of pushing it out.
Other times, people find they prefer to use their hands or fingers.
You can find several different styles and methods for whistling by searching the Internet.
Each one may be a bit different, but they can all work just as well.
Since we’re all a little different, you may need to try all the different techniques and styles.
Using this approach, you should be able to find which technique works best for you.
6. You’ve Experienced Some Sort Of Facial Or Oral Trauma
If you’ve suffered a sports injury, you can’t expect to be able to play through it and perform.
Your ability to do anything physically is limited by your body, so any injuries to your face or mouth can impede your ability to whistle.
Whistling often requires you to push air through a small opening in your mouth.
Any kind of swelling, chipped or missing teeth, or jaw injury could pose a threat to that ability.
The mouth can be a very sensitive area, and it is full of nerves and blood.
This means that small changes can be noticeable, and that inflammation can be fast and severe.
Like any other injury or trauma, it can be painful or impossible to perform certain activities.
Whistling is the same, so if you’ve suffered any sort of oral or craniofacial injury lately, it should come as no surprise that your former ability to whistle eludes you.
7. You’re Pushing Air Out Instead Of Pulling It In
Most people think of whistling as puckering up and squeezing air through the little space between your lips.
On a basic level, that’s true.
However, that’s not the entire picture.
It’s more common for people to make a whistling sound by pushing air out than pulling it in.
Nevertheless, breathing in versus out while attempting to whistle shouldn’t change the outcome.
Ultimately, it comes down to preference.
For some people, you may only be able to do one or the other.
It’s possible that you used to be able to whistle by exhaling, but you’ve since lost that ability.
Because there are so many ways your mouth can change, you may discover that inhaling while trying to whistle is something you can do now.
The action of whistling is about pressurized air traveling through one end of a hole and out another.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which direction that air is traveling.
These holes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes (this is why some people can whistle without puckering).
For some, the secret to regaining your whistle could be as simple as switching the direction of the air.
8. The Shape Of Your Mouth Has Changed
While we seldom feel the changes occurring in our bodies, that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.
Our bodies are changing every day, little by little.
It’s easy to notice these changes in others when you’re away from someone for a long time.
When we’re young, our bodies undergo rapid change.
It’s common for teenagers to grow several inches in a single year.
As a child, losing your baby teeth and growing adult teeth can be an exciting time.
These are just a few examples of how natural changes can dramatically alter our bodies.
Certain body parts change earlier, faster, or more profoundly than others.
The point is, no part of the body is immune to changes at any time during our lives.
While you’re most likely to experience noticeable changes during puberty, there are exceptions to this generalization.
Besides for puberty, injuries, orthodontics, and dental treatment, there are a couple of ways our mouths can change shape.
In some cases, mouth shape can change due to breathing and the utilization of certain muscles.
Many other times, the change in our mouths is due to aging.
It’s common knowledge that as we age, our muscle mass and bone density decrease, among many other common changes.
Another change that’s less commonly noted is in our mouths.
This is often due to shifting in our teeth, but can also be a result of other biological factors.
The mouth is a complex system, and everything has to line up correctly for a whistle to emerge from it.
Therefore, if you can’t whistle anymore, it may just be natural changes in the shape of your mouth that are responsible.
9. Your Lips Are Too Dry
If you’re wondering why you can’t whistle anymore, the answer may be as simple as dry lips.
If your lips are too dry and you’re trying to pucker, the dryness may be interfering.
It’s the same reason that a healthy green leaf can bend and flex, but a dry brown leaf will crumble.
Dry lips have very limited flexibility, which is something that’s needed to whistle well.
It’s the same reason that, when your voice is scratchy, you might reach for a glass of water.
Our bodies, much like machinery, perform best when they’re well-lubricated.
Dry lips or a dry mouth can interfere with your ability to get everything into the correct position.
They can also make it difficult or impossible for the air to flow clearly through your mouth.
The good news is that dryness is usually temporary.
If you live in a dry area, your lips, like your skin, may be susceptible to drying out.
Most people find relief in simple remedies like staying hydrated, using moisturizers, or even adding a home humidification system.
Hopefully, your ability to whistle will return shortly after you restore normal moisture levels to your mouth and lips.
This cause for your lost whistling may be harder to identify than the others since it’s so common.
It’s quite possible that, even though you have dry lips, they are not the reason you can’t whistle.
In any event, your whistling will always be better when your lips and mouth are nice and moist.
10. Your Tongue Is In The Way
Whistling, like all sounds, depends on the laws of physics.
Positioning your tongue correctly is a necessity when it comes to whistling.
For many people, this is the reason they can never whistle in the first place.
A lot of people erroneously believe that puckering your lips is the key to a good whistle.
Whistling, whether with a plastic whistle or your mouth, uses the same principles.
When whistling with your mouth, your tongue is the basis of this principle.
Your tongue creates a space inside your mouth for the air to build up.
When you force that air out through your lips under pressure, you get a whistle.
If your tongue is in the way, this process is disrupted.
Without your tongue properly positioned, you might only have one end of the hole.
When that happens, it’s no different than ordinary breathing.
As long as you can create the necessary holes and pressure, whistling should be a cinch.
Just remember that if your tongue is blocking the hole inside your mouth, your efforts to whistle will be futile.
One of the challenges of this is understanding whether or not it’s something you can change.
Your tongue might be in the way because you haven’t practiced in a while, but
it’s also possible that your tongue is in the way for reasons that are out of your control.
This could be stemming from any of the aforementioned causes for you not being able to whistle anymore.