Waking up with a dry mouth isn’t a pleasant feeling—and it can also have adverse effects on your oral health. Mouth taping is a modern “sleep hack” that has gained recent popularity for claims that it can curb mouth breathing and give you a better night’s sleep.
What Is Mouth Taping?
Mouth breathing is a primary cause of snoring, which can cause disruptions in your sleep and keep you from being fully rested. According to Case Reports in Otolaryngology, mouth breathing in children may adversely impact craniofacial growth and have adverse effects on their behavior, memory, and learning rate.
Nasal breathing, an alternative for getting air into your lungs while sleeping, creates nitrous oxide, which increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and improves brain function. Using mouth tape promotes breathing through your nose by gently and comfortably keeping your mouth closed while you sleep.
How Does Mouth Taping Work?
Products specifically for mouth taping exist, but sports tape and even surgical tape can achieve the same objective. Many mouth taping products are made from gentle, non-toxic materials. They’re designed for sensitive skin and won’t leave residue around your mouth. In fact, the tape is strong enough to promote breathing out of your nose and can be removed without much effort if needed.
What Are the Benefits of Mouth Taping?
Mouth taping has benefits for both your oral health and overall health. Breathing through your nose aids in filtering out dust and harmful allergens, whereas mouth breathing can give you a dry mouth which can lead to bad breath and tooth decay.
People that use CPAP machines can also use mouth tape with their devices as they sleep.
Other benefits of mouth taping can include:
- Fewer cavities
- Decreased risk of gum disease
- Reduced snoring
- Increased REM sleep and cognitive function
- Better breath
What Are the Side Effects and Risks Factors?
The benefits of breathing through your nose are well known, but no clinical studies on mouth taping for sleep currently exist. Though sleep tape is not considered a proven treatment, some dental professionals may recommend it based on the potential oral health benefits. Be sure to let your dental professional know if you have blocked nasal passages or severe nasal congestion before trying mouth tape.
Some potential side effects of mouth taping include:
- Sticky residue leftover on your mouth
- Allergic reactions to the tape material or adhesive
What Are Other Ways to Stop Mouth Breathing?
Many factors could contribute to why someone breathes through their mouth. Some other considerations you can try to stop mouth breathing are:
- Avoid alcohol before bed
- Quit smoking
- Sleep with a nasal strip
- Elevate your head with a pillow
- Use a humidifier
If you believe you could benefit from mouth taping, talk to a dental or medical professional to see if it will improve your sleep function and keep your mouth healthy. People who snore and experience sleep apnea or dry mouth in the morning may be candidates for this modern treatment.