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Mouth Taping 101: Is It Actually Beneficial?

As a holistic nutritionist and health enthusiast, I have researched and personally trialed countless health hacks. Yet, I’ve found that many of these approaches fall short of their purported benefits, offering ineffective or short-lived solutions to specific health concerns. Mouth taping, however, stands out as a trend that I can personally get behind. For those of you who aren’t familiar, mouth taping is a promising strategy for improving breathing patterns during sleep by literally taping your lips together. This unconventional practice has gained widespread attention from those seeking a simple yet innovative way to optimize their sleep and general well-being. The practice is gaining further recognition for its potential of enhancing other aspects of health. If mouth taping has sparked your interest, keep reading to learn what it involves and whether it may be the solution you’ve been looking for to finally feel well-rested.

What is Mouth Taping? 

Just as the name implies, mouth taping entails placing a small piece of tape over your mouth before bed to encourage nasal breathing instead of mouth breathing throughout the night. Although taping your mouth shut may sound odd, this straightforward technique supports safe and efficient airflow through your nasal cavities into your body.

More specifically, nasal breathing plays a pivotal role in filtering, humidifying, and warming the air you inhale before it reaches your lungs. The tiny nasal hairs and cilia (hair-like projections) lining your nasal passages act as a protective barrier, swiftly trapping and expelling unwanted dirt, pathogens, allergens, and airborne particles, shielding your body from potential harm. Nasal breathing optimizes lung function by heating and moistening the air, ensuring it enters the lungs at the right temperature for oxygen exchange. As a result, mouth taping supports respiratory health, which expands into many aspects of your overall health and well-being (more on this below!). 

Why is Mouth Breathing Harmful? 

Your mouth lacks the impressive filtering, heating, and humidifying abilities that are inherent in your nose. Instead, the mouth is primarily designed for eating, drinking, and speaking. As such, chronic mouth breathing allows unfiltered, dry air to enter the lungs, leading to poor respiratory health and suboptimal oxygenation throughout the rest of the body. 

In turn, mouth breathing is linked to a greater risk of snoring, sleep apnea and enlarged tonsils. Additionally, research has revealed that breathing through the mouth may negatively alter facial shape and jawline structure. Prolonged mouth breathing may also result in dysfunctional facial muscles and joints around the chin and lips. Furthermore, nighttime mouth breathing is associated with dental problems such as cavities and gum disease. Mouth breathing has even been shown to contribute to stunted growth and development. If that isn’t concerning enough, those who frequently breathe through their mouths have also been found to exhibit symptoms that resemble Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Considering the potential consequences of chronic mouth breathing, implementing practices like mouth taping may promote better breathing habits and prevent such issues from arising. 

What Are the Potential Benefits of Mouth Taping? 

While mouth-taping research is still in the early stages, a handful of intriguing studies are beginning to shed light on its potential perks. These findings offer a glimpse into the exciting possibilities of this technique, particularly in the realms of sleep and oral health.

Improved Sleep

Quality sleep can be hard to come by—especially for those with sleep disorders. Fortunately, a recent study found that taping the mouth before bed helps to significantly reduce the likelihood of snoring and disrupted sleep among individuals who usually sleep with their mouths open. I can certainly attest to the benefit of uninterrupted sleep. After several months of consistent mouth taping, I can say with confidence that it has significantly enhanced my sleep quality – I always wake up refreshed and energized after mouth taping through the night. To be honest, I was skeptical when I first heard of the trend. When I realized that it was actually working for me, I was blown away that something so simple could make such an impact.

Along with improved sleep, the above study also highlights that mouth tape may be beneficial in treating mild obstructive sleep apnea, a serious condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and restarts during sleep. As a result of regular mouth taping, the study’s participants experienced fewer breathing disturbances and achieved more restful sleep.

Improved Nitric Oxide Levels 

Mouth taping has piqued widespread interest not only for its potential to improve snoring and sleep quality but also for its ability to increase nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide is a fascinating molecule. It’s a chemical messenger that regulates numerous physiological processes, including metabolism, cardiovascular function, immunity and nerve transmission. Nasal breathing, facilitated by taping the mouth closed at night, helps to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the sinuses. Therefore, mouth taping may benefit heart, immune, and metabolic functioning. 

Improved Oral Health 

As mentioned above, one of the negative effects of mouth breathing is an increased risk of dental decay. This is because breathing through the oral cavity leads to dry mouth and decreased saliva production. Without sufficient saliva, your mouth cannot flush out harmful bacteria, neutralize tooth-decaying acid, or remineralize the teeth. Using mouth tape at night helps to redirect breathing to the nose, which can improve saliva flow and, thus, potentially enhance overall oral health. 

How to Mouth Tape 

The idea of keeping your mouth taped the entire night may seem intimidating, but—trust me—the benefits are worth it! Start by choosing a brand of tape that is specifically designed for mouth taping. This means scotch tape, duct tape, and painter’s tape won’t cut it. Mouth tape is usually more narrow than these traditional types of tape, which helps you feel less constricted.  Ideally, the tape you choose should be hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin to avoid irritation. In addition, mouth tape strips typically feature a small central opening to allow you to temporarily breathe through your mouth in the event that your nose becomes congested while you sleep. 

After trying several different kinds of mouth tape, my favorite brand is The Skinny Confidential. The seamless lip shape design and gentle adhesive make it comfortable to wear throughout the entire night. Once you’ve chosen your ideal tape, make sure your lips and the area around your mouth are clean and dry. Then, simply apply the tape to your lips before bed and get ready to enjoy a night of blissful, restorative sleep that will do wonders for your health. 

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As with any new health trend, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider before you consider mouth taping. This is particularly important for individuals who have difficulty breathing through their nose due to allergies, a deviated septum, sinusitis, nasal polyps or other conditions that obstruct the nasal passageway. Luckily, for those unable to mouth tape, there are other nutrition and lifestyle methods you can use to improve your sleep quality and overall health. If you’re interested in strategies to support your sleep through diet and supplementation, consider booking a one-on-one session with me here.

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