What to know about the trend of mouth tapes on TikTok

What to know about the trend of mouth tapes on TikTok

key takeaways

  • A new viral trend on TikTok involving taping up your mouth at night claims to improve sleep and other health conditions like bad breath, cavities, and brain fog.
  • Experts say that while breathing through your nose while you sleep may have health benefits compared to breathing through your mouth, covering your mouth can be risky for people with breathing problems and certain health conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea ( OSA).
  • To be safe, don’t try the trend without talking to your health care provider first.

There’s a new health trend on TikTok: covering your mouth with duct tape at night to sleep better. It’s called mouth packing and videos using the hashtag #cover the mouth It already has more than 39 million views on the social media platform.

Some users who have tried the trend claim that it can improve sleep and common health problems like snoring and bad breath.

“Breathing through your mouth contributes to a number of problems, including bad breath, gum disease, cavities, mental fogginess and a weakened immune system.” Elizabeth Luxa TikTok user with more than 382,000 followers, said in a video. “Keeping your mouth shut before bed prevents that entirely.”

in a video with 1.4 million viewsanother TikTok user claimed that covering their mouths helped them stay asleep through the night and prevented health problems like sinus infections.

“It helps me stay asleep… all night. I don’t wake up he said casual guilt, a TikTok user with 640,000 followers. “I used to wake up several times throughout the night; now, I just tape my mouth shut.”

Culp added that they are “a chronic disease sinus infection victim” and stated that they “have not had a sinus infection” since they started covering their mouths.

Experts say these claims by influential people, who are not health professionals, are not only controversial, but the practice could actually be dangerous for some people. And there are other ways to improve your breathing without taping your mouth shut. This is what you need to know before testing the trend.

Is it really better to breathe through the nose?

Dr Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told Verywell that breathing through the nose is the preferred route for nocturnal breathing. Helps filter dust and allergens thanks to the small hairs (cilia) in the nose that have the function of removing germs and other environmental debris.

According to Dasgupta, nasal breathing can also help moisten the air you breathe That can be beneficial since dry air irritates the lungs.

“Nose breathing can lower blood pressure by increasing nitride oxide, a compound in your body that can help keep your blood pressure in check,” Dasgupta said.

Breathing through the nose can also be useful as a relaxation technique and method to control anxietythat Dasgupta mentioned is often used in meditation and yoga to help people sleep.

What health problems are related to mouth breathing?

Dr Shannon Sullivanclinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonary, Asthma and Sleep Medicine at Stanford University, told Verywell that the nose and its structures have important roles in the physiology of breathing during sleep, including regulating the nasal airway resistance and stimulation of ventilation.

However, when the nose is stuffy, Sullivan said it can lead to snoring, restless sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Compared to nasal breathing, experts say that open-mouth breathing, especially chronic mouth breathing, can have a negative impact on oral health. It is often associated with dry mouth in the morning, bad breath, sore gums, snoring and dental cavities compared to nasal breathing.

“Open-mouth breathing has been shown to reposition upper airway structures in ways that predispose to snoring, airway obstruction, and possibly Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA),” Sullivan said. “Chronic mouth breathing during sleep may be associated with OSA in both adults and children.”

Is it dangerous to cover your mouth?

Breathing through your nose instead of your mouth can have benefits, but experts say taping your mouth shut at night can be risky, especially if you try it without talking to your health care provider first.

“General approaches like recording, without thinking about the ‘why’ behind chronic mouth breathing during sleep in the first place, is not the best approach,” Sullivan said.

Potential dangers of bandaging the mouth include:

  • Blocked or obstructed breathing
  • interrupted sleep
  • Irritation or allergic reactions to the tape.
  • Increased risk of breathing problems for people who have sleep apnea and other sleep disorders

Sullivan said covering one’s mouth could be especially risky for people who have breathing problems, including people with obstructive sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, deviated septum, sinusitiseither allergic rhinitis causing nasal obstruction.

“[Mouth taping] it could be problematic for people who have anxiety and risky for people who take certain medications that change their ability to wake up from sleep,” Sullivan said. “Speaking from a medical perspective, there is not enough evidence to make clear health or safety benefit claims. I advise people to discuss their situation with a health care provider.”

Dr Shannon Sullivan

Speaking from a medical perspective, there is not enough evidence to make clear health or safety benefit claims.

— Shannon Sullivan, M.D.

Mouth Tape Alternatives for Better Sleep

If you want improve your sleep hygiene, covering your mouth is not your only option. Dasgupta suggests starting with some lifestyle and behavioral changes:

  • Get up and go to sleep at the same time every day
  • Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
  • Make getting quality sleep (deep and REM) a goal
  • Give up smoking
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed
  • Treat allergies such as rhinitis
  • exercise daily

Dasgupta said that if you want to breathe through your nose while you sleep, there are a few alternatives to mouth straps you can try, including:

Even learning to play a wind instrument can help improve your breathing during sleep.

what this means to you

Mouth stuffing is a viral TikTok trend that claims to help you sleep better and reduce other health issues like bad breath and snoring by encouraging nose breathing instead of mouth breathing. However, it is not safe for everyone.

If you want to sleep better and breathe less through your mouth at night, there are safer and more effective ways to do it. If you’re still curious, don’t try to cover your mouth at night without talking to your provider first.

By alyssa hui

Alyssa Hui is a St. Louis-based health and science news writer. In 2020 she received the Jack Shelley Award from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

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