Mouth taping is when you place tape over your lips to keep the mouth closed to prevent mouth breathing while asleep. According to health experts, the thought process behind using mouth tape is that it could help with snoring, allergies, and bad breath. That raises the question, then, as to whether or not this trending sleep hack actually works.
While there is interest in mouth taping and its benefits, there are also some potential side effects and dangers that you should know before attempting this. Furthermore, those interested in mouth taping should do so safely and with the appropriate materials.
We’ll highlight everything you need to know about mouth taping, such as the benefits and side effects, how to safely tape your mouth for sleep, and helpful alternatives to mouth taping you might want to consider.
You can read our full article at https://www.sleepadvisor.org/mouth-taping-for-sleep/ Disclaimer: this is not medical advice. If you have questions or concerns about mouth taping, call your doctor to see if it wil work for you. #mouthtapingforsleep #mouthtaping #sleeptips #sleeptok #mouthtape #sleepadvisor #foryou #sleephelp #sleephealth #foryoupage #sleepbetter♬ 7AM (Slowed + Reverb) - adrian
What is Mouth Taping?
Mouth taping is a home remedy that involves taping the mouth shut to prevent mouth breathing overnight. Since it’s difficult to control how you breathe while asleep, the logic of mouth taping is to force nasal breathing through physical means. The goal of mouth taping is to improve sleep quality and reap the benefits of nasal breathing.
According to Cleveland Clinic, mouth taping emerged as a popular Tik Tok trend, and as you can imagine, health experts are now weighing in on whether it’s safe to use mouth tape for sleep.
Is Mouth Taping Safe?
There is conflicting information as to whether or not mouth taping is actually safe. Health experts with OSF Healthcare stress that mouth taping can be dangerous since it could cause obstructed breathing, and according to Dr. Thomaz Fleury Curado with University Hospitals, mouth taping is “safe in some conditions.” However, Dr. Fluery Curado specifically recommends mouth taping under the supervision of a doctor.
What are the Benefits of Mouth Taping?
For those interested in applying mouth tape while they sleep, the following list represents the potential benefits of this sleep method:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Filters allergens
- Keeps your breath temperature regulated
- The air you breathe in is less dry
- Keeps the throat moisturized
- Manages anxiety
- Reduces the risk of dry mouth, bad breath, and a sore throat
- May reduce snoring caused by mouth breathing
What are the Side Effects of Mouth Taping?
Despite the potential advantages of mouth taping, it’s also important to acknowledge any negative side effects that can come with it.
Breathing through your mouth is typically a backup for when you have trouble breathing through your nose. With mouth taping, you are obstructing your ability to breathe through your mouth. While this is the purpose of mouth taping, experts say it could also be dangerous, especially if you have difficulty with nasal breathing.
Additional side effects of mouth taping can include irritation or a rash around the areas where you place the tape. You may also experience pain after removing the tape, anxiety from having the mouth sealed shut, and discomfort. Although mouth taping aims to improve sleep, some of these side effects could lead to more disrupted rest.
Does Mouth Taping Work?
A small 2022 study found that mouth taping could be an effective first-line treatment for treating mild obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. In the study, researchers used 3M silicone hypoallergenic tape on 20 participants for a week. Though their results were promising, the study was small so more research would be needed to make a more conclusive statement that mouth taping works.
How to Mouth Tape Safely
In general, mouth taping is not recommended by health experts. However, if you’re still curious to try out this method, there are steps you can take to safely do so.
To mouth tape safely, you should first speak with your doctor if you are considering mouth taping. Your physician knows your general health status and can determine if mouth taping would be safe for you.
Second, test out mouth taping while awake to see if you can still breathe through your nose. For example, if you have a cold, mouth taping could be dangerous because you may not be able to breathe through your nose.
Third, use the appropriate taping materials. Experts recommend using a “gentle hypoallergenic elastic tape.”
Fourth, apply the tape while upright and get used to nasal breathing before lying down to sleep. Experts with University Hospitals add that the tape should be vertical rather than horizontal across the lips so that you can get some air and movement if need be.
Who Should Try Mouth Taping?
While there is limited scientific evidence to recommend mouth taping, it’s aimed at helping those with allergies and bad breath, and people who snore. Because the mouth is taped shut, anyone who wants to attempt mouth taping should be able to fully and comfortably breathe through their nose.
Who Shouldn’t Try Mouth Taping?
Anyone who has difficulty breathing through their nose should avoid mouth taping, such as those who have a stuffy nose due to a cold. It’s important to be able to breathe through your mouth in these circumstances, and mouth taping could make it harder to breathe.
Mouth Taping Alternatives
1. Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
Good sleep hygiene refers to daily habits that can improve your sleep quality. Good sleep hygiene is considered an alternative to mouth taping because some people use mouth taping to improve their rest. Examples of good sleep hygiene include keeping a consistent sleep schedule, having a relaxing nightly routine, regular exercise, not eating late at night, cutting out alcohol and smoking, and avoiding caffeine late in the day.
2. Nasal Strips
Nasal strips are a type of adhesive placed across the nose to help curb snoring. Nasal strips are considered a mouth taping alternative because people may use mouth taping to reduce snoring. Nasal strips work by slightly lifting the sides of the nose to open up the nasal passages for better breathing.
If you are having trouble with snoring, check out our best mattresses for snoring.
3. Treating Allergies and Asthma
Some people may attempt to use mouth taping for asthma or allergies. Breathing through the nose helps filter out allergens, but research suggests there’s no evidence that mouth taping improves asthma symptoms. Instead, people with allergies and asthma could benefit from hypoallergenic mattresses and bedding products and regularly cleaning their bedding.
4. Practicing Good Oral Hygiene
Nasal breathing is considered helpful for overall oral health, and practicing good oral hygiene is equally important for achieving healthy teeth and gums. Good oral hygiene habits include brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, seeing your dentist every six months for a cleaning, and consuming a healthy diet.
5. Side Sleeping
Changing your sleep position may help with snoring, which is also a goal of mouth taping. The side sleeping benefits include better digestion, a lower risk of heartburn, better brain health, and improved snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
If you decide to change your sleep position to side sleeping, here are some of the top-rated mattresses for side sleepers to check out.
FAQs About Mouth Taping for Sleep
What are the downsides of mouth taping?
The potential downsides of mouth taping include obstructed breathing, skin irritation, discomfort, and anxiety.
Do dentists recommend mouth taping?
As mentioned, a goal of mouth taping is to improve bad breath. However, dentists do not recommend this method since bad breath can result from other problems like bad oral hygiene, inflamed gums, periodontal disease, a poor diet, decaying teeth, and more.
Why it would be hard to breathe through your nose while sleeping?
One reason it would be hard to breathe through your nose at night is nasal congestion due to a cold, allergies, or sinusitis. Additional nasal breathing complications can arise from nasal polyps, a nasal valve collapse, or a deviated septum.
Final Word of Advice
While it’s easy to get excited about the latest sleep health hacks, it’s also important to verify if there’s science behind it to back up the claims. Currently, there’s not enough scientific evidence to formally recommend mouth taping for sleep, though the research that is out there sounds promising.
If your curiosity has the best of you, though, and you’re set on trying this, we advise going about it as safely as possible by first talking with your doctor and taking the necessary steps to safely use mouth taping.
- “Mouth Taping: Is It Safe?”. Cleveland Clinic. 2022.
- “Is it safe to use mouth tape for sleeping?”. OSF Healthcare. Last modified October 24, 2022.
- “Is Mouth Taping a Safe Choice for Better Sleep?”. University Hospitals. 2023.
- Lee, Yi-Chieh., Lu, Chun-Ting., et. al. “The Impact of Mouth-Taping in Mouth-Breathers with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Preliminary Study”. National Library of Medicine. 2022.
- Thompson, Jess. “Dental Expert Warns Against Viral Trend Claiming to Fix Bad Breath”. Newsweek. 2023.
- “Why You Can’t Breathe Through Your Nose at Night”. Kaplan Sinus Relief. 2021.