Mouth taping is a new trend with skyrocketing popularity, thanks to TikTok. But some doctors are saying it could be hurtful rather than helpful.

What is mouth taping?

Mouth taping is known for being an easy home remedy to treat mouth breathing, snoring or sleep apnea, according to a study published in the journal Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. By taping the mouth closed with skin-safe tape, mouth-breathers have no choice but to breathe through their noses.

Why would someone want to do it?

Mouth-taping advocates claim that forcing oneself to breathe through the nose can help to avoid the negative side effects associated with mouth breathing, Sleep Foundation reported. These side effects include:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Sleep-disordered breathing.
  • Gum disease.
  • Yellow teeth.
  • Snoring.
  • Poor quality REM sleep and cognitive function.
  • Slowed growth in children.

Does it actually work? What are the risks?

Despite some rave reviews on TikTok, there isn’t much data proving the effectiveness of mouth taping. In fact, some doctors, like primary care doctor Dr. Kathryn Boling, say mouth taping is a terrible idea. The skin on our lips is extremely thin and sensitive, so the act of putting on and pulling off abrasive tape each night could lead to abrasions and cuts. Boling says you also run the risk of choking or suffocation if you were to throw up in the night with a taped mouth.

What are some safer ways to improve sleep?

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If you’re just wanting to get deeper sleep, here are some easy (and scientifically proven) tips for a better night’s rest.

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Create a cool, dark and quiet environment.
  • Limit daytime naps.
  • Keep stress to a minimum.
  • Put away electronics.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed.
  • Add melatonin rich foods to your diet, like nuts or fish.
  • Write in a journal for 15 minutes.
  • Take a magnesium supplement.
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