What Is Mouth Taping And Why Would Someone Want To Do It
Mouth taping isn’t rocket science. By taping the mouth closed at night with a special, skin-safe tape, mouth-breathers are forced to breathe through their noses. We’re naturally designed to breathe in through our noses, according to medical experts. Nasal breathing produces something called nitric oxide.
“Nitric oxide is something that vasodilates your blood vessels. If you dilate your blood vessels, it’s going to help out with things like hypertension, which is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. And it improves circulation,” says Dr. Rajkumar Dasgupta, a pulmonary and sleep specialist.
There are several notable benefits of breathing through your nose:
- It prevents your sinuses from drying out
- It lowers your blood pressure
- It gives you better breath and oral health
If you’re cringing at the thought of not being able to move your mouth, you’re not alone. However, mouth taping doesn’t involve completely taping your mouth closed. The tape is porous and you can still breathe around it. The point is that it keeps your mouth closed instead of wide open and drooling on your pillow. But you’re not in danger of being unable to force your mouth open.
The causes of mouth breathing can vary, and sometimes it’s just due to habit. But with more severe mouth breathing, the main culprits are nasal blockages, deviated septum and sleep apnea.
What Are Some Better Ways To Improve Sleep And Reduce Snoring
If youre just looking to sleep better, there are steps you can take that dont involve taping your mouth closed.
For one thing, stop scrolling TikTok at night. Doctors and sleep psychologists agree that screen time is the enemy of sleep. The blue light emitted by electronic screens might impede production of the sleep hormone melatonin, while exciting content might arouse you rather than lulling you to bed.
Instead, consider reading a paper book or listening to an audiobook, making a cup of tea, taking a bath or giving meditation a shot in the hour before bed rather than looking at your phoneany of those will clean up your bedtime routine and lead to better quality sleep.
You can also invest in blackout curtains or a white noise machine to make your bedroom a better sleep environment. To level up your bedroom even more, enhance your bed with the following products that we’ve tested and love here at Reviewed:
Nasal Strips One Of Many Options To Cut Down On Nighttime Congestion Snoring
Snoring and having nasal congestion can be frustrating for both you and your family.
The congestion and snoring can keep both you and your partner from getting a restful nights sleep.
The strips are worn across your nose to open your sinus passages and help you breathe. Each flexible strip is spring-like and fits on the outside of your nose just above where your nostrils flare out.
Put the strip on your nose using the sticky side, and it should stay in place through the night. Because the strips are flexible, they try to straighten back out once stuck to the natural curve of your nose. When they do this, they lift both sides of your nose. The lifting is what helps you to breathe easier. The lifting opens your nasal passages, reduces snoring, and eases nighttime congestion.
According to the National Institutes of Health , one study of nasal strips showed they help decrease snoring and reduce sleepiness. The study did not include anyone withsleep apnea or any other serious sleeping or breathing issues.
Though nasal strips can help improve nighttime congestion and snoring for some people, they arent the right fix for everyone.
Your doctor can help you decide what options might be the best for you to combat nighttime congestion and reduce snoring.
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What Kind Of Tape To Use For Sleep
If you decide to try mouth taping, use a porous tape intended for use on human skin. Trying duct tape, masking tape, or another tape not intended for use on the body might be more likely to cause irritation or an allergic reaction.
Some companies sell adhesive strips designed to be used for mouth taping during sleep. Most pharmacies also sell hypoallergenic tape, surgical tape, and athletic tape, which are porous and commonly used on human skin. The vast majority of people are not allergic to medically used adhesive tapes, though some may experience irritation or other reactions to medical tape.
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:
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My First Week Of Decent Sleep
Of course, the key component to a good nights sleep is relaxation, which might mean reading or engaging in some pillow talk before bed. Id bet half my savings your bedtime routine does not include taping your lips down and giving your partner a plastic, closed-mouth kiss before you hit the pillow.
I admit, I felt a little nervous as I tentatively applied the short length of 3M Micropore surgical tape over my mouth that first night. And yes, the first few minutes were a bit uncomfortable. But when I woke up the next morning, something strange happened. For the first time in as long as I could recall, I didnt feel groggy. Perhaps this was psychosomatic, since Im told it takes more than a week for the effects of mouth taping to kick in.
So I persisted.
Gradually, after about seven days, I noticed my sleep was getting deeper and I was indeed waking up with more energy. I also noticed that my throat was less parched and I suddenly didnt have to get up five times a night to pee anymore. For me, that is a priceless change. Having spent several decades feeling like I never got enough rest, the value of being able to feel satisfied with a nights shut-eye is impossible to overstate.
Icipants And Study Process
Eighteen patients suspected of OSA, aged from 23 to 57 years, were recruited for study at O2 Win Dental Clinic in Taiwan. The inclusion criteria were patients with OSA-associated symptoms, such as snoring and daytime sleepiness. The exclusion criteria were patients with chronic diseases , cigarette or alcohol addiction, and known sleep disorders. All participants provided written informed consent. The procedures used in this study were approved by the Human Research Committee of the National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan , and the study was performed in conformity with the declaration of Helsinki.
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Nostril Breathing Is The Healthiest Way To Breathe
When it comes to optimal breathing, the nose knows. The nose warms and humidifies the air as it passes through the nostrils. The paranasal sinus cavities produce nitric oxide, an odorless gas as well as a molecule that is produced in the body. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it can dilate the blood vessels to help move blood through the body with less resistance and deliver oxygen to the body more efficiently. As we breathe in, the air picks up nitric oxide through the nose and carries it down to the lungs .
Conversely, when a person breathes through the mouth, these nose breathing benefits are lost. According to the Oral Health Group, mouth breathing is viewed as shallow, inefficient breathing that may cause a person to sigh frequently or feel short of breath. Individuals may have difficulty sleeping and even poor posture due to mouth breathing.
Is Nasal Breathing A Necessity For Dental Sleep Appliances
If you are an individual with difficulty breathing through your nose, a good place to start is to seek medical consultation with your primary care physician.
Other evaluations may be necessary, such as with an ENT or an allergist or other medical specialist.
Although breathing through your nose is helpful in any treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy, many patients find success with dental sleep mouthguards and breathe only through their mouth during sleep.
On this note, I dont require a patient to seek medical consultation before treatment. I mention that a nasal medical evaluation may benefit them down the road as part of a more successful treatment plan if needed.
Again, make sure to talk to your sleep medicine specialist to determine how mouth breathing will impact your treatment plan.
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Theres Already A Better Solution
The most important reason not to try mouth taping is that we already have a comfortable, convenient, and effective snoring treatment available. An oral appliance can be made to comfortably hold your jaw in a position that alleviates narrowing of the airway that causes snoring.
To learn more about this snoring solution, please call for an appointment with a Detroit sleep dentist at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness in Rochester Hills.
How Does Mouth Taping Work
The process behind mouth taping works exactly as it sounds: You literally tape your mouth shut before you go to sleep.
If youre a regular mouth breather, then in theory, you should automatically breathe through your nose if youre not able to through your mouth.
This is the exact reverse of what happens when you have nasal congestion, where you breathe through your mouth because you cant breathe through your nose.
While you might need to breathe through your mouth occasionally during exercise or if you have nasal congestion, its important to breathe through your nose as much as possible. Nose breathing helps to:
- lubricate your nostrils and prevent your sinuses from drying out
- make the air you breathe in more humid, which can help chronic lung diseases like asthma
- balance out pH levels in your mouth, preventing dental decay, dry mouth, and gingivitis
- increase your intake of nitric oxide, which is crucial for brain function, cardiovascular health, and overall blood oxygen levels
While sometimes marketed as a potential sleep apnea treatment, mouth taping itself may not help treat the pauses in breathing that are associated with this condition.
Instead, you might need more traditional sleep apnea treatments, such as oxygen therapy via continuous positive airway pressure machines.
While the benefits of breathing through your nose have been well established, there are also potential side effects associated with mouth taping.
The Different Methods An Individual Can Be Detected With Sleep Apnea
There are 2 ways to diagnose sleep apnea: polysomnography and also house sleep tests. Polysomnography is a test that can be done in a sleep lab or at home. It tape-records the persons brain muscle, eye as well as task movements, and taking a breath quality while they rest.
A home sleep examination takes place in a persons very own room and also is normally conducted by a technician that establishes an air flow machine in the room. The air flow maker sends out light, continuous currents of air that assist keep the throat open if somebody has obstructive sleep apnea so they can take a breath a lot more easily during sleep.
Is Mouth Taping Safe
Weve all seen TV shows or movies where someone has had their mouth taped shut with duct tape, and it never looks comfortable. Thats because it isnt especially if you do it improperly.
Taping your mouth shut can present some unpleasant side effects, and potentially some real dangers. Some of these may include:
- Pain while removing the tape especially if you have facial hair.
- Irritation on or around your lips.
- Anxiety. Having tape on your mouth can be stressful!
- Difficulty breathing especially if youre experiencing any nasal congestion.
As a whole, mouth taping can be done safely but its important to use your best judgment if you decide to do it. Avoid taping over any facial hair, broken or irritated skin, et cetera. Remove mouth tape gently to prevent additional irritation. If you become anxious or on edge while wearing mouth tape, remove it.
For best results, you should not put a piece of tape horizontally across your mouth. Instead, place a small strip vertically in line with your septum. Your septum is the cartilage in your nose that separates your nostrils.
If you want to practice mouth taping, I recommend using 3M medical tape. Its cheap and effective so theres no need to use other potentially expensive specialty sleep tape.
Important note: Mouth taping should be practiced by adults only. Never tape your childs mouth, or allow them to practice mouth taping.
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Are There People Who Should Never Use Mouth Tape
So far, there are no contraindications for mouth taping. This means that anyone who wishes to use mouth tape can safely do it, though the process is not recommended for babies or very young children. However, for older children and adults, mouth taping is perfectly safe and a great way to enhance quality of life.
Mouth Taping And Sleep Apnea: Shut Your Mouth About Shutting Your Mouth
Tim Smithies and Dr Ian Dunican
Taping your mouth at night is not going to tape over your problem with obstructive sleep apnea.
Mouth taping has become quite the trend on TikTok and popular media outlets in 2022. It is said to alleviate the harmful effects of mouth breathing during sleep, such as snoring, bad breath and dry mouth. Mouth breathing at night is a significant issue linked to developmental and behavioural problems in children and an increased risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea . The proposed function of mouth taping is obvious if your mouth is taped shut, you cannot breathe with your mouth wide open when you sleep. This would force you to breathe through your nose during sleep, alleviating any issues associated with mouth breathing. Many social media saviours would tell you that this is the key to a restful nights sleep.
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The Results On Way Of Life Exactly How Does It Influence My Social Life
The impacts of sleep apnea can leave you really feeling exhausted all the time. Its vital to recognize the indication as well as get identified by a physician. If you are experiencing any one of these signs, you may have sleep apnea:
Recurring sleepiness during the day also after obtaining lots of rest
Daytime recognition that your breathing may be uncommon
Taking a breath stops while resting
Loud snoring during sleep
How Do They Work For Deviated Septum Sufferers
Millions of Canadians have a deviated septum â a bend in the cartilage or bone that separates the nostrils. Symptoms include an airflow blockage through one or both nostrils, difficulty sleeping, chronic nasal stuffiness, and loud breathing or snoring. While Breathe RightÃÂ® nasal strips should not be considered an alternative to surgical correction, they can provide temporary relief by allowing air to pass more easily through the blocked nasal passage.
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Create A Nighttime Routine And Stick To It
No amount of tape on your mouth will help you fall asleep if you don’t have good sleep hygiene. Your nighttime routine is crucial to ensuring you’re relaxed and your body is ready to fall asleep. The routine will vary for everyone. Some people like to read to relax others like to take a bubble bath.
But there are a few general rules of thumb for a healthier nighttime routine. First, put away your phone and turn your TV off about a half-hour before you go to sleep. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day — yes, that includes weekends. Lastly, take a look at your bedroom. Is it ready for sleep? Check the temperature and maybe add some black-out curtains.
Mouth Taping Stops Snoring
Is your significant other constantly complaining that your mouth snoring habit keeps them up at night? Put a stop to it by mouth taping and let your partner sleep in peace. During sleep, the muscles in and around your mouth relax, causing your mouth to fall open. This results in your respiratory airway closing and ultimately causes the mouth snores that you may be unfortunately all too familiar with. And mouth snoring isnt just bothersome — it can also impact your health. It is often a precursor to sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder that can lead to cardiovascular and cognitive disorders. Solve this annoying, and potentially dangerous, problem by mouth taping while you sleep. It can also be helpful to do some tongue exercises during the day to strengthen your mouth muscles and train them to keep the airway open while you snooze.
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