What is Mouth Taping?
Mouth taping is a very simple practice, where you, well you tape your mouth shut.
It is most often done at night while sleeping to encourage nasal breathing and to limit mouth breathing.
However, some people actually use mouth tape during exercise to promote nasal breathing then too!
Mouth Taping Benefits
Mouth taping prevents the mouth from opening wide at night while you sleep, this simple act can lead to a whole host of benefits.
1. Improved Breathing
Taping the mouth shut can encourage breathing through the nose, which is the body’s natural way of breathing during sleep. This can lead to better oxygenation, which may improve sleep quality and overall health.
Check out our article on nasal vs mouth breathing if you’d like to learn more!
2. Reduced Risk of Sleep Apnea
As your mouth opens your jaw falls back into your throat. As this happens it becomes much easier for the esophagus to become obstructed, limiting airflow.
In some people, the throat can become completely obstructed leading to what is called obstructive sleep apnea.
Mouth tape can of course help keep the mouth closed and help diminish this effect on esophageal narrowing.
3. Reduced Snoring
Snoring is often caused by the vibration of tissues in the throat and nasal passages when air passes through them.
When you breathe through your nose, it’s more efficient and relaxed and tends to decrease the possibility of vibration and snoring.
4. Better Oral Health
The saliva in your mouth contains all kinds of enzymes and proteins that keep your it clean and keep the bacteria under control.
If your mouth is open all night even if you’re not breathing through it, all of that saliva will dry up, which can lead to an uncomfortable dry mouth but more importantly it can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and BAD BREATH. *gasp*
Does Mouth Tape Actually Help You Sleep Better?
While we have anecdotes of people’s sleep improving after they start taping their mouths, does science bear this out?
Is there even any science?
What the Science Says About Mouth Taping
I could only find a few studies that implemented mouth taping, and they all involved sleep apnea outcomes.
In the first study, which took place in 2014, 30 participants were instructed to sleep with a porous oral patch or POP.
The POP resulted in a significant decrease in both snoring events and apnea events.
There were other noted changes as well, for example before treatment with the POP, 83% (25/30) of patients had a dry mouth when awaking, and 53% (16/30) of patients drooled during sleep.
However, after using the POP drooling and dry mouth completely disappeared!
The only other study I could find on mouth taping was recently published in 2022.
This study involved 20 participants who suffered from mouth dryness, mouth breathing, and sleep apnea events.
Interestingly the mouth tape used in this study was a small piece of 3M silicone micropore tape, the same kind we recommend!
We once again see that closing the mouth theoretically opens the esophagus wider, preventing breathing issues.
The mouth-taping intervention above was shown to significantly improve the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI), apnea index (AI), and hypopnea index (HI) in most participants.
Researchers noted that most of these improvements were seen during supine sleeping when gravity is most likely to negatively impact those susceptible to OSA.
Snoring issues were also largely resolved in many of the participants:
And there we have it!
While these studies are small, the concept is pretty straightforward and logical.
If you can breathe through your nose well, mouth taping will almost certainly result in better breathing, sleep quality, and oral health throughout the night.
Check out our favorite mouth tape if you’re ready to try this out for yourself!