Why the Mouth Taping Trend on TikTok is Risking Your Health

In recent times, a new wellness trend has emerged on TikTok, capturing the attention of users worldwide: mouth taping.
Dr Dennis Chua - ENT Surgeons Medical Centre - Blog About Mouth Taping

Lately, there have been over 2,000 posts with the hashtag #mouthtaping, and one creator’s nighttime ritual, which includes mouth taping, has had 4.9M views.

If you’ve been searching online for ways to stop snoring or get a chiselled jawline, then mouth taping videos have likely popped up on your For You Page. Proponents of mouth taping argue that it encourages deeper, more restorative sleep, improves oral health, and enhances overall well-being by ensuring that breathing occurs through the nose rather than the mouth. In addition, they claim mouth taping has led to a more defined facial structure.

As with many health trends that gain traction on social media, mouth taping has sparked conversation among healthcare professionals, wellness advocates, and the public. While some individuals report positive outcomes from adopting this practice, including reduced snoring and better sleep quality, medical experts caution against potential risks and emphasise the importance of consulting healthcare professionals before trying such methods.

What is mouth taping?

Mouth taping is a practice that involves securing one’s mouth shut with tape during sleep to promote nasal breathing.

Mouth breathing, especially during sleep, can disrupt the natural process of air filtration, humidification, and warming that occurs when breathing through the nose. This can result in a dry mouth and increased risk of dental health issues like cavities and gum disease. Moreover, mouth breathing can impact the overall quality of sleep, leading to fatigue and decreased cognitive function.

Conversely, nasal breathing enhances the body’s oxygenation by facilitating the intake of nitric oxide, a critical compound that boosts the transport of oxygen throughout the body. This process not only optimises oxygen delivery to vital organs and tissues but also plays a key role in maintaining overall physiological balance and well-being.

Is mouth taping safe?

Generally, it is better to breathe through the nose while sleeping. However, keep in mind that mouth breathing may signify a bigger issue.

ENT specialist Dr Dennis Chua warns if a person needs to breathe through the mouth when asleep, it is a sign of nasal obstruction.

“Taping the mouth of a patient with a nasal obstruction can potentially result in oxygen levels dropping during sleep, which is a condition known as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA),” Dr Chua says in a report from The Straits Times.

Some people may struggle with severe nasal congestion or issues with their nasal anatomy such that mouth-breathing becomes the only option. In these cases, mouth taping, especially during sleep, can be risky.

Other experts are sceptical, primarily since no solid evidence yet supports mouth taping to improve breathing. In addition, those with sensitive skin have heightened chances of experiencing allergic reactions to the adhesive in the tapes.

Can mouth taping help with snoring?

Some have touted mouth taping as a simple yet effective method to reduce snoring.

Snoring often occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in the throat, causing them to vibrate as you breathe. Mouth breathing can exacerbate this by creating more airflow turbulence, hence the logic behind mouth taping.

By promoting nasal breathing, not only is the air moistened, warmed, and filtered before reaching the lungs, but it also helps to stabilise the breathing pattern and can potentially minimise the vibrations that cause snoring.

However, it’s crucial to understand that mouth taping might offer a temporary solution for some, but it does not address the underlying causes of snoring, including nasal congestion, sleep apnoea, or anatomical variations. Individuals considering this method should consult with healthcare professionals to ensure it’s safe and suitable for their situation.

If you have questions or concerns, schedule a consultation with Dr Dennis Chua.

Can mouth taping improve athletic performance?

Mouth taping has gained traction among wellness enthusiasts and athletes alike because of its effects on athletic performance. That’s because mouth breathing may not be as efficient as breathing through the nose.

During physical activity, nasal breathing allows for greater oxygen delivery to active tissues due to the release of nitric oxide, which plays a crucial role in opening up your blood vessels and airways. If cells are not getting enough oxygen, it can cause stress and fatigue.

However, the efficacy of mouth taping as a method to significantly improve athletic performance warrants further scientific investigation. Individuals considering this practice should proceed with caution and consult healthcare professionals.

How to get better sleep

Indeed, breathing through the nose while sleeping has significant benefits. But sleep experts say there are ways to achieve a more restful slumber other than mouth taping. Here’s what you should do instead.

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule to regulate the body’s internal clock.
  • Ensure the sleeping environment is quiet, dark, and comfortably cool.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to promote better sleep quality.
  • Practice mindfulness and deep-breathing exercises before bedtime for relaxation.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and screen time close to bedtime to prevent sleep disruption.
  • Practise good nasal hygiene routines to keep airways clear for better breathing.
  • Consult a healthcare provider for persistent sleep difficulties, which may lead to recommendations like CPAP therapy for conditions such as sleep apnoea.
It’s tempting to try trends on social media, especially when you see content creators touting their positive experiences. However, it is important to consult experts before adopting any of these fads, especially if they involve your health and well-being. If you have questions or concerns about your ENT health, book an appointment with Dr Dennis Chua today!

If you have questions or concerns about your ears, nose, and throat,
you may book a consultation with Dr Dennis Chua, an ENT specialist in Singapore.
He has completed his training in otorhinolaryngology locally and attained qualifications internationally.