Taping Your Mouth Closed During Sleep Is That A Good Idea
Many products are being sold over the counter and are promoted to improve sleep.
Recently I have noticed peddling of misinformation and potentially ineffective therapies are common on the internet. One of these is selling mouth tape for sleep.
Amazon and Walmart are now selling adhesive products designed for mouth breathers, promising instant snoring relief. Dentists, orthodontists and ENT physicians have jumped onto this bandwagon. I could only find anecdotal reports this helps.
A common assertion is that nasal breathing is overall better for us. And a promotion of exhalation of fat is a way to lose weight during sleep is hard to support.
There are books that promote this idea about nasal breathing and health benefits and extrapolating these concepts into breathing patterns during sleep.
While it is understood by pulmonary doctors that breathing through your nose and taping your mouth could have benefits in very specific groups of patients. For example as a way to prevent mouth leaks of air when using CPAP, this could help with compliance.
I am not aware of any medical study which demonstrates a benefit of taping the mouth closed during sleep for resolution of snoring or apneas.
A way to understand the relationship of mouth breathing during sleep is this article by Ruhle K.H, et al. in Respiration, Mouth Breathing in OSA prior to and during Nasal continuous positive airway pressure.
I would also point the reader to this study:
When To Talk To Your Doctor
In some instances, people interested in mouth taping might benefit from seeking medical help instead. Consider making an appointment with your primary care physician if you:
- Have a sleep disorder or think you might have a sleep disorder
- Experience severely bad breath
- Have a child that breathes primarily through their mouth
Sleep disorders are conditions that require professional diagnosis and treatment rather than home remedies. Trying mouth taping instead of visiting your doctor could delay the start of important treatment.
Similarly, extreme bad breath could be due to an issue other than mouth breathing. For example, people can experience severe bad breath as a result of cavities, underlying sinus infections, and digestive problems like ulcers. Visits to your doctor and dentist can help you identify and treat potential underlying medical or dental issues.
It is also important to see your doctor if your child has an issue with mouth breathing. Mouth breathing may slow growth in children, so it may require medical attention. Mouth taping in children has not been studied and should not be tried.
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Mouth Taping And Sleep Apnea: What To Know Before Trying
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Noses play an important role in our respiratory system because they work to protect our airways and lungs. The nose warms, humidifies, and even filters the air we breathe in.1
However, it is very common to switch to mouth breathing at night for many reasons. Some people breathe through their mouth out of habit. Some people have less muscle tone in their jaw, causing it to fall open at night. Some people have a deviated nasal septum or nasal congestion from allergies. If it is difficult to inhale fully through your nose, you will instinctually begin to breathe through your mouth.2
Mouth breathing is a reflex to ensure that the body brings in enough oxygen. However, it can cause snoring and obstructive sleep apnea . Laying down with the mouth open allows the jaw and tongue to fall back further. This closes the airway and makes it more difficult to breathe. To prevent mouth breathing, you may find yourself looking into mouth taping.3
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Theravent Snore Therapy Strips
Theravent strips can be used for quick and easy relief from snoring. To use it, place one of the ventilated strips on the nostrils before going to bed. They look like a bandage, but instead, they use the power of their own breathing to open the nasal passages and thereby reduce snoring. They are small and easy to carry to travel or store on your bedside table. Clinically proven to reduce snoring, customers say they take some time to get used to, but once you do, they bring significant relief. Although they do not work for everyone, many found that they were an easy and effective solution to their snoring problems.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: OMG people!!! This thing saved my relationship #HANDSDOWN The man was starting to sleep on the couch because of my LOUD snoring.hahaha
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Why Mouth Breathing Isnt Great For You
If you breathe primarily through your mouth, you wont get the benefits of nose breathing listed above. Youre also more likely to develop dry mouth, which can cause a few different problems to develop.
For one, thing, dry mouth can lead to gingivitis, Dr. Dasgupta notes. The Mayo Clinic lists dry mouth as one factor that can increase your risk for gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease that causes redness, irritation and swelling in the gums. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more severe gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.
If you have dry mouth, it really predisposes you to bad breathhalitosisand no one wants to have bad breath, he adds.
So, if youre trying to train yourself out of mouth breathing, mouth taping seems to be one of the more efficient and really super cheap ways to try to circumvent that and see if it helps, says Dr. Rabinovich.
But Dr. Dasgupta is skeptical. It probably wont hurt you, he says, but it might not help you, either.
He suggests a few other options that you could pursue if youre breathing through your mouth:
- Allergy treatments. Allergies are often the culprit behind nasal congestion, so if you can clear those up, you might be able to breathe through your nose better.
- Nasal strips. Nasal strips can also open up your nasal passages and improve the flow of airand possibly reduce snoring
- Stop smoking. Smoking can irritate your nasal passages and lead to a runny or congested nose, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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How To Mouth Tape Safely
Since mouth taping is not considered a commonly accepted practice, speak to your doctor before trying it. Currently, there are no official guidelines outlining how to mouth tape safely. Also, the risks that come with mouth taping without a doctors advice are unknown.
Before trying mouth taping for sleep, it is a good idea to test the mouth strips during the day. If you have difficulty breathing through your nose due to allergies, nasal polyps, or another reason, you should avoid mouth taping.
You can minimize irritation and leftover stickiness by applying a food-safe gel or oil to the area around your mouth before sticking on the tape. When putting on the tape, consider folding it over at one corner for easier removal in the morning.
Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
Some people claim mouth taping reduces daytime tiredness. There are multiple other sleep hygiene habits that can help you obtain the sleep you need, such as:
- Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day
- Sleeping in a room that is free from light and noise
- Avoiding looking at screens before sleep
- Skipping alcohol and caffeine in the hours before bed
- Exercising regularly
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When To See A Doctor
See your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms. These may indicate your snoring is caused by a more serious condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
If your child snores, ask your pediatrician about it. Children can have obstructive sleep apnea too. Nose and throat problems such as enlarged tonsils and obesity often can narrow a childs airway, which can lead to your child developing sleep apnea.
Read this related article:
Where To Get Sleep Tape
While mouth taping is a relatively modern fad, mouth tape itself is widely available. Several brands market their products as sleep tape, and theyre sold online and in drugstores.
If youre not ready to commit to any brand-name sleep tape, you can also try out traditional surgical tape for the same purpose. You can find surgical tape at your local pharmacy.
Keep in mind that surgical tape may not be hypoallergenic, and so it may irritate your skin.
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Are There People Who Shouldn’t Mouth Tape
To date, there are no contraindications for mouth taping, which means anyone should be safe to mouth tape. I don’t recommend this for babies or young children, but for older children or teenagers and older, mouth taping should be perfectly safe.
Actually, the signs of sleep-disordered breathing in children are nearly identical to the signs of ADHD. If your older child’s or teenager’s dentist, pediatrician, or ENT suspects sleep-disordered breathing may be the cause of behavioral or cognitive problems, mouth taping might be one way to help.
How Mouth Taping Can Help With No Production And Nighttime Mouth Breathing
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t worryI won’t leave you without the fix to your mouth-breathing issues. For several years, I’ve kissed my wife goodnight and then reached to my nightstand for mouth tape to put across my lips.
As I mentioned, many people hear “mouth taping” and have some horror story image pop up immediately. But your body evolved to breathe through the nose except in a few circumstances, like extreme physical exertion, stuffy sinuses, or while talking. Unfortunately, modern developments in sleep, like comfy beds, combined with the common underdevelopment of the airways from a lack of vitamin K2 , have led to a much higher number of people who mouth breathe at night.
Taping your mouth shut is a great way to make sure you nose breathe throughout the night. Bonus: If you wake up every morning without tape on your mouth, it’s a good diagnostic tool to recognize frequent mouth breathing.
Many people who start taping notice an improvement in their sleep within just the first few nights. That’s because mouth breathing often correlates with interrupted sleepjust enough to kick you out of deep sleep but not usually to the point you remember waking. But once you start mouth taping, these interruptions will probably go waydown, providing you with deep sleep and a fresh start to the morning. I’ve even seen patients with mild sleep apnea reverse the condition, just by mouth taping!
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Sleep Apnea Present In 1 In 5
There are about 75 medicalized sleep disorders currently generating a $30 billion sleep medication market.4 Apnea as a diagnosis has become a major concern because of its prevalence and impact. An estimated 50 to 70 million US adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder of one kind or another.5 Obstructive sleep apnea, for example, is the most prevalent form and is characterized by intermittent complete and partial airway collapse, resulting in frequent episodes of apnea and hypopnea.2 One in five adults, it is reported, has mild OSA, and 1 in 15 has moderate to severe OSA.2 Central sleep apnea is when the brain temporarily stops sending the message to respiratory muscles to breathe.
The symptoms and characteristics of sleep apnea syndrome can be life-threatening and have been associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,10 as well as with excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and restless and nonrestorative sleep.11 These latter symptoms did not get recognized as a sleep-disordered breathing until the mid-1970s. In one of the first articles on sleep apnea syndrome, by Guilleminault6 in 1985, 34 of 35 patients were men, and half of the patients suffered from hypertension. Lavie states in a different study, In years to come the association between sleep apnoea syndrome and the cardiovascular system could become the driving force behind sleep medicine.11
Taping Your Mouth Closed At Night
There is an actual method to taping your mouth to help you sleep better. It has been proven to help with sleep apnea. The reason for taping is that many people breathe through the mouth which is very unhealthy. So the more you can breath through the nose the healthier you will be.
Why is it so important to NOT mouth breath?
Your nose is made for breathing and your mouth is made for eating and speaking. When breathing through the nose it acts as a filter, warms the air and creates nitric oxide which helps blood oxygen levels. When breathing through the mouth non of those occur. The tonsils are in constant defense as are the lungs which leads to chronic tonsillitis, asthma and allergies. It takes a lot more energy to breath through the mouth so in return your exhausted and dont get restful sleep. Many other health problems develop just from mouth breathing.
How do I tape my mouth?
There are many tapes on the market that you can use. We recommend micropore tape by 3M, which can be bought on Amazon. Dont be worried about taping. You nose is made to do the breathing and can be retrained.
What if I cant breath through my nose?
Most of the time its a habit and people think they cant breath through the nose but you can! You just need to retrain your lip muscles to stay closed. If you wake up multiple nights and the tape is off, you may want to see an ENT to rule out any obstructions.
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How To Mouth Tape
Mouth taping is a great way to train yourself to breathe through your nose. The first method is to tape across the mouth with 3M medical grade tape. The second method is to tape around the mouth using Myo tape from or Kinesiology tape. If you are a chronic mouth breather and suffer from symptoms that are interfering with your well-being, consider mouth taping.
Whats So Bad About Mouth Breathing Stress Cavities And More
In fact, there are many downsides of mouth breathing. One study published in December 2013 in the journal Neuroreport found that mouth breathing can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, and sleep apnea. Mouth breathing also worsens asthma, may cause cognitive dysfunction, and deprives the heart, brain, and other organs of optimal oxygenation.
According to Steven Y. Park, MD, ENT specialist in New York City and author of Sleep, Interrupted: A Physician Reveals The #1 Reason Why So Many of Us Are Sick and Tired, breathing through your mouth can also increase your stress responses. And needless to say, more stress equals less sleep.
Not only does mouth breathing reduce the quality of your sleep, but it disrupts the balance of your oral microbiome and makes you more prone to tooth decay, says Burhenne, who believes mouth breathing is the number one cause of cavities even ahead of eating a thousand chocolate chip cookies and not brushing your teeth.
Compare that with the cost and long list of dangerous side effects associated with sleep aids like Ambien or melatonin, and mouth taping starts to seem like a pretty good deal. Ill take a little stickiness around the mouth and being one dollar poorer any day.
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Tips To Improve Health And Comfort
Choose a CPAP device with a built-in humidifier. Most devices now include a built-in humidifier, which helps prevent the dryness and skin irritation that can sometimes occur.
If youre experiencing nasal congestion, you may prefer a full-face mask over a nasal or nasal pillow mask. Also be sure to keep your humidifier tank full, keep your tubing and mask clean, and make sure your filter is clean. Nasal sprays and antihistamines also help.
Keep your device clean. Its very important to clean your CPAP hose, nosepiece or mask, and humidifier tub regularly, as a dirty CPAP device can cause infections and even pneumonia. Your sleep doctor and device manufacturer will give you detailed cleaning instructions.
To ensure maximum comfort, ask your doctor about soft pads to reduce skin irritation, nasal pillows for nose discomfort, and chinstraps to keep your mouth closed and reduce throat irritation and dry mouth.
Mask the sound of the CPAP machine. Most new CPAP devices are quiet, but if the sound of your CPAP machine bothers you, try placing it beneath the bed and using a sound machine to muffle the noise.
Lower The Cpap Air Pressure
If you fixed your mask leaks, and you stopped opening your mouth during sleep, but you still wake up with dry mouth in the morning, then you don’t have any other solution than to lower your CPAP air pressure.
Actually, many readers of this website have CPAP dry mouth and high air pressure.
There are different reasons for why you have a higher pressure than necessary.
Maybe your sleep doctor wanted to be sure your airways will remain open while you sleep, or the results from your sleep study are a bit exaggerated. Or, maybe you lost some weight since starting CPAP therapy, and now you need the pressure adjusted.
What can you do in this case?
- try a second sleep study – not everyone can afford this, but if you can, try another sleep study mentioning to the sleep technician that you need a lower air pressure. In other words, you have to find out what is the lowest pressure your body needs to sleep without apnea episodes.
- ask your doctor to lower your CPAP pressure – he may reduce it by increments, to test the quality of your sleep the following night.
- adjust CPAP pressure by yourself – if you don’t have access to a doctor, you may want to try to lower the pressure by yourself. Before doing this, you need to know how to track your sleep to check if you have apnea episodes or hypopneas. Use your CPAP software or a portable pulse oximeter to reveal your sleep quality.
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