scorecardPeople are taping their mouths shut while they sleep, claiming it helps snoring and dry mouth. Doctors say the practice can be risky.
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People are taping their mouths shut while they sleep, claiming it helps snoring and dry mouth. Doctors say the practice can be risky.

Julia Naftulin   

People are taping their mouths shut while they sleep, claiming it helps snoring and dry mouth. Doctors say the practice can be risky.
LifeScience2 min read
  • On TikTok, people are taping their mouths shut while they sleep at night, a practice called "mouth taping."
  • Mouth taping fans say the practice prevents dry mouth and snoring, which promotes better sleep.

TikTok users are taping their mouths shut before bed and say the practice, called mouth taping, leads to higher quality sleep and better oral health.

Researchers have only studied mouth taping on small groups of people with sleep apnea and asthma. One study showed mouth taping could be beneficial for people with sleep apnea, while another found it ineffective for people with asthma.

The most recent research, a small study published in September 2022, found that 13 out of 20 patients who had obstructive sleep apnea and taped their mouths shut at night with 3M silicone hypoallergenic tape reduced their snoring 50% or more. Observing the results, the researchers concluded that, for people with mild sleep apnea, mouth taping could be worth trying before using other more expensive and time consuming treatment methods like CPAP therapy or surgery.

@corylrodriguez

MOUTH TAPING EVERY NIGHT!...Better #sleep, better #oralhealth and no #drymouth #sleeping #mouthbreathing #breathing #healthy #energy #breathe

♬ original sound - Corylrodriguez
@erica.jpeg

I used to sleep 9hours every night & still be tired. Now I sleep 6.5-7hours & have more energy than ever!(mouthtape is #myotape ) #mouthbreathers

♬ original sound - erica.jpeg

Since no conclusive research exists on the practice and its effects on normally healthy people, doctors remain cautious about it and warn of potential side effects like poor sleep, anxiety, or trouble breathing. Still, some people swear by sealing their lips at night.

Mouth-tapers say the practice prevents bad breath and restless nights

TikTok users and health experts who have tried mouth taping themselves use breathable and thin tape or mouth strips over their lips, and report benefits like better oral hygiene and sleep.

When it comes to oral health, mouth taping can prevent dry mouth, which often leads to other conditions like bacterial overgrowth, cavities, and gum disease, dentist Dr. Rob Raimondi told Insider.

That's because mouth taping blocks air, and any allergens or dryness in the air, that could contribute to poor oral hygiene, according to the Sleep Foundation.

If you have trouble nose breathing, don't try mouth taping

Despite the purported anecdotal benefits of mouth taping, experts say you should speak with a doctor before trying it out.

People who have trouble breathing through their nose due to allergies, sleep apnea, or a deviated septum should avoid attempting mouth taping on their own, since it could obstruct your ability to breathe, according to the Sleep Foundation.

Instead, you can try sleeping on your side, applying nasal strips, creating a bedtime routine, or taking allergy medication, says the Sleep Foundation website.

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