With May being mouth breathing awareness month we can’t ignore The elephant in the room!
It’s all over social media and YouTube, everyone’s talking about it.
Mouth taping has become very popular, but a lot of people wonder why anyone would do that, or if it’s even safe.
When I bring this up to somebody who’s never heard of it, they look at me like I have two heads, and I have to admit, it even sounded crazy to me a few years ago when I first learned about this.
In this blog , I’ll explain more about taping your mouth,
- Why you may want to tape,
- The benefits of taping,
- When to and when not to tape,
- How to tape type,
- The different types of tape,
- Side effects mouth taping may have,
- Why I use mouth taping myself, and
- Why I recommend it for patients in my myofunctional therapy practice.
First let’s start with, we were meant to breathe through our noses all day and all night 24/7.
Nasal breathing is a topic that is not discussed enough.
Unless you are exercising or have nasal congestion you should always breathe through your nose.
There are some people who just cannot breathe through their nose. We will talk about that in a few minutes.
What is mouth taping, and why would someone want to do it?
Mouth taping is a home remedy that helps treat mouth breathing when you are awake or asleep. Mostly when you are sleeping.
Mouth taping isn’t rocket science. It is simply just putting tape over your mouth at night to help you sleep better.
Mouth breathing is associated with numerous health conditions, including snoring, allergies, and dental disease just to name a few. This podcast would be way to long if I went into that so if you want more info on mouth breathing I have an episode on that topic
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. Nasal breathing produces something called nitric oxide.
The Benefits of Mouth Taping
“Nitric oxide dilates your blood vessels, improves circulation, which will help reduce hypertension, and risk factors for stroke and heart disease and so much more.
Chronic mouth breathing is a habit that can change facial features, body posture, oral and systemic health, and can lead to breathing disorders with harmful outcomes that compromise the quality of life.
When you are a mouth breather especially at night it affects your sleep cycle, breathing cycle and activates your sympathetic nervous system keeping you in fight or flight at night so you do not get good sleep and you wake up feeling tired.
Changing your habits now is crucial! If you don’t change these habits, the symptoms only get worse and worse as you age. You might not be able to technically “reverse” the symptoms; you can stop them from getting worse, and allow your jaw bone to remodel and your muscles to change in a positive direction, rather than getting worse.
Mouth taping can help in many instances yet it is definitely not for everyone and only recommended if you can breathe through your nose.
If your nose is stuffy, you can unblock your nose with this simple exercise:
Take a deep breath in Pinch your nose with your thumb and index finger. Keeping your lips closed, shake your head side to side and front and back when you feel that hunger for air, keeping your lips closed, take your fingers off your nose, take a breath in through your nose.
You can do this as many times as you need to unblock your nose.
Not everyone can get and keep their lips together so mouth taping is a tool that is being used to help retrain your brain to use your nose to breathe by keeping your lips closed. You can use it both day and night.
You may also need Myofunctional Therapy to help strengthen the muscles that are weakened from oral habits.
Let’s dive into why you would use it, when to use it, and when not to use it.
Mouth tape promotes nasal breathing
There are several notable benefits of nose breathing
It gives your body more oxygen
It prevents your sinuses from drying out
It helps filter out allergens
It helps reduce anxiety
It helps lowers your blood pressure
It gives you better breath and oral health
It helps you sleep better
When would you use mouth tape?
If you’re cringing at the thought of not being able to move your mouth, you’re not alone. Mouth taping doesn’t mean completely taping your mouth closed. There are different methods of taping.
The tape is flexible, porous and you can still breathe around it if you need to. Depending on the method and you tape use. The point is that it keeps your mouth closed instead of wide open and drooling on your pillow at night. But you’re not in danger of not being unable to open your mouth.
You can always take it off or just open.
Mouth taping involves the use of medical tape or specialized mouth tape to keep your mouth closed mainly while you sleep. The idea behind this technique is to promote nose breathing during sleep, when you are in an unconscious state, as mouth breathing has been linked to a range of health issues such as sleep apnea, snoring, dry mouth, and even dental problems like cavities and gingivitis .
It’s a simple yet effective technique that has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous benefits.
But first you have to be able to breathe through your nose first. Breathing and oxygen are our bodies #1 basic need. Without it everything else is a struggle in life. I want to emphasize that if you cannot breathe through your nose, mouth taping is not for you until you can.
So I start with can you breathe through your nose?
You can test to see if you can breathe through your nose by holding water in your mouth and timing yourself. How long can you hold the water in your mouth and breathe through your nose?
If you can breathe through your nose for three minutes, You can train yourself to breathe properly with practice.
Mouth taping is not recommended and you should not try mouth taping if you can not breath through your nose for three minutes without mouth breathing. If you can not breathe through your nose for three minutes you will need to look into why. Do you have swollen adenoids, tonsils and deviated septum polyps, See a Myofunctional therapist, you’re Dr. or an ENT.
If you can breathe through your nose for three minutes or more, you can train yourself to breathe better and Mouth taping can help. We use it at night because when you are sleeping for some people it is hard to keep their lips closed.
I personally thought I had a bladder issue because I was getting up 2-4 times a night to pee. Waking up with a dry mouth and stuffy nose, getting a drink and going to the bathroom. I saw a urologist for years thinking it was my bladder waking me up. Turns out it was my mouth breathing. Once I started taping I did not get up anymore to pee, no dry mouth, sore throat, headache, stuffy nose. I actually slept 6-7 hours without waking up. Mouth taping has been a game changer for me. I don’t sleep without it now.
You may not need tape.
The diaphragm is a muscle at the base of the lung, when you breathe through your nose with your diaphragm you get more air and oxygen into your lungs, which slows down your heartbeat and it helps calm you down.
If you are using your mouth to breathe especially at night you are in fight or flight and your sympathetic nervous system activated telling your body you are in distress which in turn can cause increased heart rate, sweating, decreased mobility of the digestive system, increase the release of epinephrine and cortisol and relax the bladder wall leading to waking you up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night or bedwetting.
You are also swallowing more air which can lead to more gas, IBS, or even acid reflux.
When you breathe through your mouth you do not produce nitric oxide resulting in 18% less oxygen to your brain and body.
You probably wake up feeling tired wondering why?
You may be a “mouth breather” if you experience any of the following:
Sleeping with your mouth open
Itchy nose/ dry mouth /sore throat when waking
Drooling while sleeping, or noticing drool on your pillow upon waking
Nocturnal sleep problems or agitated sleep
Irritability during the day
Getting up to go to the bathroom/ bedwetting
Mouth breathing causes the tongue to rest at the bottom of the mouth in order to create more space for air to flow through, and as a result can lead to abnormal tongue activity. Other muscles in your face, head and neck compensate for the movements your tongue is not doing. This abnormal tongue activity can lead to periodontal disease, atypical myofascial pain, and increased tooth mobility.
Additionally, those who habitually breathe through their mouth may struggle to maintain good posture. This is because mouth breathers overcompensate for the restriction of their airways by carrying their heads forward while breathing.
This forward head posture often leads to muscle fatigue, neck pain, tension in the temporomandibular joint area, spinal disc compression, early arthritis, tension headaches, and dental occlusal problems.
Everyone can sleep better by breathing through their nose and their mouth shut.
Taping can help stop snoring and make you feel better during the day since you are sleeping better. It can also help your heart stay healthy and help decrease blood pressure.
It’s a great tool to help address oral myofunctional issues and related conditions including sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea, dry mouth and more.
If you have braces without fixing the dysfunctional oral habits, the results will not be stable or relapse long term.. Myofunctional therapy can definitely help!! 🙂
How and when to use Mouth tape
Now, let’s talk about when to use mouth taping. The best time to use mouth taping is when you’re going to bed. Simply apply the tape over your mouth before you go to sleep and remove it in the morning. It’s important to use a tape that’s specifically designed for mouth taping, as regular tape can be too strong and irritate your skin.
It can be tough to figure out on your own. You can use it with kids, but be careful and talk to a professional before using it with children.
You know you’re hesitant at all about it, work with somebody who could talk you through it. Mouth taping was created by people who are doing Buteyko breathing, so you can work with a Buteyko breathing specialist. They can talk with you about mouth tape. You can work with a myofunctional therapist, most of them are doing mouth taping as well. You can talk to a dentist or doctor if one of them has recommended it to you.
Types of tape:
I use several different kinds of tape:
I try them all so I can give my opinion.
They all come with their own directions
There are tapes that go directly over the mouth and lips, some that go around your lips.
Myo tape is the one I am currently using.
I like it because it is stretchy. I can tell the dog to lay down if need be without taking it off or losing the sticky and needing to get another piece.
It goes around the lips and comes in two sizes adult and child. Which I think is better for kids. I do not use it the way they recommend. I was still mouth breathing using that way. I cut it into strips of 4. Put my lips under so I am taping on the skin around my lips not directly on the lips.
I also use hostage tape. It is a little big for me. So I cut it into strips as well.
3m makes a kinesiology tape. I get the one for sensitive skin
I am a die hard mouth breather. Somnifix, It has a little hole in the middle and I found myself breathing through it. So it is not my favorite. But I loved it in the beginning because I could put my straw through it to take a drink.
So some people are kind of nervous, you don’t have to start with putting the entire strip across your mouth, you can cut this in half, or you can cut it in thirds. But no matter what you choose, do what you feel comfortable with.
You can start off by taping your mouth during the day, just to get the feel for it, you can do that too. So I personally use a little tiny piece.. I put it on my mouth, I go to sleep, and my mouth is closed all night and I’m breathing through my nose all night. So mouth tape to me is a critical part of my life and my myofunctional therapy programs.
No matter what tape you choose, make sure it is for mouth taping and you will need to figure out what works for you.
You can stretch a piece above and below the lips or directly over them vertically and horizontally make an x. Whatever you are comfortable with. I am sure as it gains more popularity like everything they will have more options in the future.
I sleep great with it now that I know how much better I feel when I get a good night’s sleep . I will not go to bed without it. I fallen asleep on the coach and woke up coughing, got a drink of water, put tape on and went to bed.
I will put my affiliate links below if you would like to try some of the brands I use.
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 you’re a regular mouth breather, in theory, you should automatically breathe through your nose when you tape, you’re not able to through your mouth. I thought it was my bladder waking me up. I learned it was my mouth breathing. Once I started taping, I was able to sleep 6 full hours without waking up to go to the bathroom
This is the exact reverse of what happens when you have nasal congestion, where you breathe through your mouth because you can’t breathe through your nose.
While you might need to breathe through your mouth occasionally during exercise or if you have nasal congestion, it’s important to breathe through your nose as much as possible. Nose breathing helps to:
Balances out pH levels in your mouth, preventing dry mouth , dental decay, gingivitis
Lubricates your nostrils and prevent your sinuses from drying out
Humidifies the air you breathe, which can help chronic lung diseases like asthma
Increases your intake of nitric oxide, which is crucial for brain function, cardiovascular health, and overall blood oxygen levels
Decreases your chance of snoring
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. It only helps you breathe through your nose.
Instead, you might need more traditional sleep apnea treatments, such as oxygen therapy via CPAP Continuous positive airway pressure machines.
Side effects and risks of mouth taping
While the benefits of breathing through your nose have been well established, there are also potential side effects associated with mouth taping.
skin irritation on your lips and around the mouth
sticky residue left over the next day
To date, there haven’t been any clinical studies done to prove this technique treats any underlying health condition.
Talk to a doctor if you have any concerns about mouth taping.
The causes of mouth breathing can vary, and sometimes it’s just due to habit. But with more severe mouth breathing, the main reasons are nasal blockages, deviated septum and sleep apnea.
Breathing through your mouth is not the healthiest or most effective way to breathe. It also can have some pretty serious, long-term side effects. Because mouth breathing can cause low oxygen concentration in the blood, it contributes to health issues like high blood pressure and heart problems. Oxygen saturation is measured by a pulse oximetry device.
Breathing through your mouth can also cause wear, fractures, cavities and impacted teeth. Mouth breathers also have higher levels of bad breath and gingivitis. Chances are, you’re not choosing to breathe through your mouth, but it can take some retraining to switch your brain back to a nose breathing habit — hence the popularity of mouth taping.
You also shouldn’t use this method if you have severe nasal congestion from allergies or illnesses.
Mouth taping probably won’t solve most people’s sleeping issues on its own, especially if your problem is falling asleep in the first place. And it’s not a quick fix either. It was not like I used it one day and got immediate benefits. It took a week mostly because I wawa skeptical and only used a small piece at first. Once I figured out what worked for me. It was amazing how much better I slept and how I did not wake up with a stuffy nose, headache or to pee any more.
Most people say that they use it four to six weeks before you can start training your body to breathe through the nose without the tape,” I still need it every night to keep my lips together.
Like every other new trend out there, it works for some people and not for others.
We touched on it a little. Mouth taping is particularly useful for people who struggle with snoring or sleep apnea, as it helps to keep their airways open and prevent them from collapsing during sleep. Additionally, mouth taping can help to reduce dry mouth, as breathing through the mouth can cause the saliva in your mouth to dry out. Mouth taping can also improve sleep quality and increase the amount of REM sleep you get.
Disclaimer – The information in this video and on this YouTube channel is not medical advice. Please discuss this information with your doctor or health professional before undertaking anything suggested on this channel.
Does mouth taping work?
The answer to this question is different for everyone. For me the answer is a big fat Yesss!!! It changed my life. I sleep so much better and get up to 6 hours of sleep now without getting up to pee in the middle of the night. The only way to know if it will work for you. Give it a try. It costs under $20-30, depending on which tape you try.
Other things you can do to help get a good night sleep
Change your sleeping position
If mouth taping is not for you…you can switch your sleeping position to reduce snoring and mouth breathing. Sleeping on your side is the best option to reduce snoring and mouth breathing. Don’t worry; it’s actually pretty easy to train yourself to sleep on your side. Just use a few well-placed pillows to keep you from rolling over. You can use specialized pillows like lumbar or multiposition pillows, but that’s not essential. If I do not use a pillow I do notice I end up on my back.
Be strategic with your allergy medicine
If you are someone who suffers from allergies, or your nose is congested and you have become a mouth breather. Thankfully, allergy medicine exists and depending on when you take it, it can help relieve your symptoms. Common allergy symptoms like runny nose or sneezing often in the morning. So it’s a good idea to take your 24-hour allergy medication at night, so it’s circulating in your bloodstream and bringing you relief when you wake up.
Short-acting allergy medication is the most effective shortly after you take it. If you generally have trouble sleeping at night because of your allergy symptoms, try taking your short-acting allergy medication before you go to sleep. I take a children’s chewable benadryl. All I need is one and I am good for the night.
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. We all have different beliefs so the routine will vary for everyone. Some people like to read to relax; or meditate, others like to take a bubble bath.
But there are a few general rules of thumb for a healthier nighttime routine. First, don’t eat right before bed. Your body is still digesting, so it is in rest and digest mode, put away your phone and turn your TV off about a half-hour before you go to sleep. (We know scrolling through social media is fun, but it is a stimulant for most people) Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day — yes, that includes weekends. Take a look at your bedroom. Is it calming and ready for sleep? Check the temperature and maybe add some black-out curtains.
It is crucial to assess mouth breathing and sleep issues in children and adult patients to prevent these health issues from occurring. If you notice mouth breathing or disrupted sleep signs or symptoms talk to your healthcare provider.
If we could help you in any way, reach out. We would love to schedule a consultation with you to further discuss your questions, concerns, symptoms and develop a plan that works best for you.
While some people online swear by taping their mouths as a solution to mouth breathing, the science behind this technique is lacking.
Not everyone is onboard with this as an option. It worked for me. You can see for yourself.
If you’re wondering whether mouth taping is a fad, here’s what you need to know about the potential benefits and risks behind it.
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