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Have you ever been told that you snore loudly? Or have you been trying desperately to get a sharper jawline to no avail? If you answered yes, I have no doubts the algorithm has heard you and curated your FYP to include hundreds of videos of TikTok’s mouth tape trend. Health and wellness hacks from the clock app are nothing new and have actually led me to some of the best tips I’ve incorporated into my daily life. But when it comes to mouth taping, well, let’s just say I had more than a few questions I wanted answered before I begin to seal my mouth shut with tape while I sleep. So, I did just that and consulted the experts.
As with any social media trend, it’s important to do your homework before you jump to try it out. And who better to ask than an actual sleep doctor and an ear, nose, and throat doctor who is knowledgeable about what happens when you tape your mouth shut all night? For many, the appeal of a potential benefit is enough to add to cart, but there’s actually quite a bit you should know. Below, everything you’ve ever wanted to know about TikTok’s mouth taping trend, answered.
What exactly is mouth taping?
If you’re like, “Why on earth would I want to sleep with my mouth taped shut?” Allow me to break it down for you. The main appeal for many is to incorporate microcore tape in their nightly routine in order to force the body to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth overnight. TikTokers who have tried this claim that they’ve experienced better sleep, oral health, and even changes to their facial structure.
So, are there actually any benefits to mouth taping?
The short answer is there can be, but it’s not a guarantee. “For people who have snoring with mild sleep apnea and are able to breathe through their nose, mouth taping showed a decrease in sleep disturbance,” ENT Dr. Linda Dahl tells Cosmo. “For appropriate candidates, mouth taping can improve dental health, reduce snoring and mild sleep apnea, and improve restful sleep.”
Additionally, Certified Clinical Sleep Health Specialist Dr. Holliday-Bell says that nose-breathing has lots of health benefits. “Breathing through your nose allows you to filter air that you breathe in while sleeping and also warms and humidifies the air which can reduce irritation as it travels through your airways and into your lungs,” she explained. “Breathing through your nose also aids in the elasticity of the lungs and leads to more oxygen absorption in your blood.”
Is it bad to sleep with your mouth open?
Sleeping with your mouth open can be the root of problems you might be experiencing, such as dry mouth, snoring, bacterial overgrowth on your teeth—and it can worsen asthma or lung conditions, Dr. Dahl explains. Generally, “It's much healthier to breathe through your nose because your nose humidifies, warms, and filters that air, which makes it easier for your lungs to absorb oxygen and lessen,” she adds.
Despite this, Dr. Holliday-Bell argues that it is more important to assess the reason that you are sleeping with your mouth open. “Is it due to nasal obstruction, obstructive sleep apnea, or some other cause?” she tells Cosmo. “It’s important to address the underlying cause which could lead to even more health consequences.”
How do I start mouth taping and what are the best practices for doing so?
Talk to your doctor first, because mouth taping isn’t for everyone. “It's best to first be evaluated by a doctor to see if you have nasal blockage and how severe it is and have a sleep study to see if you have sleep apnea,” notes Dr. Dahl. “Once you have been cleared to try mouth taping, start with a porous tape that allows you to breathe through your nose and mouth,” which will allow you to breathe comfortably.
Who should avoid mouth taping?
Just because you saw it on TikTok or from your favorite influencers doesn’t mean it will work for you. “Anyone who has risk of aspiration, such as those with frequent reflux or moderate to severe sleep apnea, should definitely avoid mouth taping,” Dr. Holliday-Bell says, with Dr. Dahl adding that children and people with nasal obstruction should also not participate.
Can mouth tape change the shape of your face?
To be honest? Not really. Both of our experts shared that there simply isn’t enough evidence that mouth-taping has any effect on the shape of your face. Simple as that! Dr. Holliday-Bell further explains that while chronic mouth breathing starting at a young age can "alter the shape of your face, mouth taping has not been shown to have any effect on face shape at all."
Is using mouth tape dangerous?
If you’ve decided to try out mouth taping, here’s your friendly reminder that not just any regular-degular tape works. For people with sensitive skin or who deal with anxiety, you might experience difficulty breathing, disrupted sleep, or skin irritation with mouth taping.
If you’ve made it this far and have gotten the green light from an expert to try it out, we’ve got you covered (no pun intended) with the best mouth tape to add to your routine. Below, take a look at our favorite options.
I love that these strips are H-shaped tape strips and are specially designed for mouth taping. How you apply is up to you with the option to place on your mouth either horizontally or vertically, depending on your preferences. It’s a TikTok-viral pick for a reason!
Strong Hold Pain-Free Removal Tape
My sensitive skin peeps, right this way! This skin tape doesn’t come in individual strips but is great for mouth taping if you are worried about possible irritation. It’s hypoallergenic, comes off easily, and is water-resistant.
For those who want to try out mouth taping but don’t want to necessarily commit to buying a whole pack. This general type of medical tape is one you should have on your radar. It is less likely to irritate your skin and has been used for mouth-taping as well for other medical reasons including post-operative healing.
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