Every now and then, a new hack starts trending on social media that can make your life easier or better. While some hacks have been proven to be useful, some are not what they seem and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The mouth taping trend is one such hack that is all over social media, particularly on TikTok. Influencers who support this trend claim that this simple hack can help improve multiple issues from mouth breathing, to snoring, and even bad breath.
But is mouth taping for sleep truly safe? Are the mouth taping benefits that are claimed online true or is this just another sensationalized fad? Read on to find out.
What Is Mouth Taping?
As the name suggests, this is the act of taping your mouth closed with tape at night before going to sleep. It is said that doing this will force you to breathe through the nose rather than the mouth while sleeping.
What Tape Should I Use to Cover My Mouth?
If you are curious to try this hack, you need to understand that not just any tape will work. Do not go into your garage to find masking tape or, even worse, duct tape to use to keep your mouth closed at night.
Instead, you should look for porous medical tape that is safe for human use and skin. Popular examples of medical tapes you can find at your local pharmacy that are considered safe include hypoallergenic tape, surgical tape, and athletic tape. If you’d like to go a step further, you can look for specifically designed mouth taping adhesive tapes.
Unlike duct tape or any other run-of-the-mill tapes, specially designed tapes are less likely to cause irritation or an allergic reaction to your skin. However, the risk is not completely nonexistent (4), so you should try a patch test before you use it on your face.
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What Are the Benefits of Mouth Taping?
Despite a large number of influential TikTok accounts claiming that mouth taping for sleep has several benefits, there is not enough scientific research to support these claims.
In fact, an article by Harvard Health Publishing specifically warns against this practice, not only due to the lack of research, but because it’s risky and could lead to problems such as hampered breathing, disrupted sleep, or skin irritation (2).
That being said, mouth taping for snoring has proven to be beneficial for a specific group of people.
In a small study that was published in 2015, researchers found that in patients with mild sleep apnea who habitually slept with their mouths open, sleeping with a porous oral patch over their mouths actually helped with these issues. All 30 patients in the study experienced a notable decrease in their snoring indexes (5).
Researchers concluded that the use of the porous oral patch for mouth taping was useful for patients with obstructive sleep apnea and habitual open-mouth breathing during sleep.
In another study that was published in 2022, researchers found mouth taping to be quite beneficial for mouth breathers with mild sleep apnea. Of the 20 study participants, 13 responded positively to covering their mouths while they slept. They were reported to have experienced improved snoring and the severity of their sleep apnea was reduced by half (8).
From these studies, it can be seen that if you suffer from mild sleep apnea, you should speak to your doctor to find out if you are a viable candidate for mouth taping for sleep and reduced snoring as mouth taping could prove to be beneficial for you.
However, if you do not suffer from this condition, it is advisable not to try this hack to prevent snoring. As previously stated, insufficient research has been conducted to prove the safety or effectiveness of this practice against the purported benefits such as reduced bad breath, snoring, dry mouth, fatigue, and concentration issues.
What Are the Negatives with Mouth Taping?
One obvious negative with mouth taping is the simple fact that not enough scientific research has been performed on it. A lack of research behind anything that is health-related should be a red flag as this means that it is unknown what may happen if something goes wrong.
Other reasons that mouth taping while sleeping may be dangerous include:
- Hampered breathing – If you are used to breathing through your mouth while you sleep, your body will automatically try to do this once you are asleep. Finding this area blocked with tape could lead to hampered or difficult breathing. While we do not know if it could lead to suffocation, it’s best not to find out.
- Disrupted sleep – This can be related to the above point. Difficulty breathing will wake you up, thereby ruining your sleep schedule and meaning that you get less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
- Irritation from the tape – Using the wrong type of tape could lead to irritation or an allergic reaction, particularly around the lips.
- Increased anxiety – Covering your mouth while you sleep is not a normal activity. It is also quite uncomfortable initially and this could trigger anxiety.
- Ripping off tape is painful for anyone, but especially so for those with facial hair.
What Is the Best Mouth Taping Technique?
As there is relatively little research on this subject, there are no official guidelines on how to do it, let alone the best technique for doing it. You can find multiple sources online where people show you how to do it, but we strongly advise against trying it out.
Does Mouth Taping Improve the Jawline?
Aside from reduced snoring, an improved jawline – particularly for men – is one of the other purported benefits of mouth taping. However, this benefit seems to also be anecdotal and there is no scientific sense or backing to support it.
In details posted in the New York Post (originally from HuffPost (9)), experts claim that while mouth breathing can impact your facial structure, there is little chance that simply taping your mouth will alter your bone structure or jawline.
As with all the other benefits posted on social media platforms, this seems to be a fad to garner likes and attention and spread misinformation.
If you want a more defined jawline, it is better to perform jawline exercises than taping your mouth shut for sleep. Some of these exercises include:
- Neck curl-ups
- Collarbone backups
- Tongue twister
These target the facial muscles in the lower half of your face, specifically the jaw and chin, which can result in a more defined jawline.
If you are overweight, losing weight overall and in the face could make your jawline more defined or noticeable. When it comes to how to lose face fat, remember that spot reduction is just a myth. You cannot lose fat in the face alone, and you need to lose it all over the body for your face to end up slimmer.
If you want a quick but temporary fix for a more defined jawline, you could invest in a gua sha. This is a flat jade pebble that is used in traditional Chinese medicine to ‘scrape away illness’.
Gua sha can also help sculpt facial muscles, particularly those in the jawline and cheekbone areas. By scraping these areas with this stone for a while, you can release tight facial muscles and get rid of any puffiness, which will help give the temporary appearance of a more sculpted face.
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How Long Does It Take to Adjust to Mouth Taping?
It will most likely take a few weeks for your body to adjust to this practice (1).
Should You Tape Your Mouth Vertically or Horizontally?
This is best discussed with your doctor.
If your doctor thinks mouth taping could help improve your snoring or sleep apnea, you should discuss the safest and most comfortable mouth taping direction for you with them. It is important to remember that the best mouth tape for sleeping is a porous medical tape that is safe for human use and skin.
What Are the 3 Types of Taping?
In physical therapy, the three main types of taping for injury and therapy are (6):
- Kinesiology taping
- McConnell taping aka Patellar taping
- Mulligan taping
However, for mouth taping there are no specific proven types of taping.
How Do You Sleep with Mouth Tape?
For mouth breathers who have mild sleep apnea, mouth taping can help them breathe through their nose, which reduces snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms.
What Are the Benefits of Using Aloe Vera on the Face Overnight?
Aloe vera is an excellent plant. Its benefits include moisturizing dry itchy skin from eczema and psoriasis, treating acne, healing cuts, wounds, and small abrasions, and soothing sunburn.
The Bottom Line
While it has been sensationalized online, mouth taping does not appear to be the best option to help relieve snoring, improve the jawline, or reduce bad breath in the morning. This trend is simply a fad that has been pushed by influencers online and has no scientific backing of the supposed benefits. If you struggle with any of the aforementioned issues, there are better scientific-backed fixes out there than this TikTok fad.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Can a Piece of Tape Help You Sleep? (2022, nytimes.com)
- Can mouth taping help my snoring? (2023, health.harvard.edu)
- Exploring scraping therapy: Contemporary views on an ancient healing – A review (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nonallergic reactions to medical tapes (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Novel porous oral patches for patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea and mouth breathing: a pilot study (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Taping (n.d., physio-pedia.com)
- The effect of Gua Sha treatment on the microcirculation of surface tissue: a pilot study in healthy subjects (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Impact of Mouth-Taping in Mouth-Breathers with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Preliminary Study (2022, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- TikTok influencers claim men can improve jawlines by taping mouths shut overnight (2023, nypost.com)