Let’s just say that there are many holistic things I do in the name of health that most people find odd and abnormal. Sleeping with tape over my mouth at nighttime might be at the top of the list. But, hear me out, because I SWEAR it has been life-changing for both my quality of sleep and my dental hygiene. If you’re curious to learn more, keep on reading!
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This post covers:
- What is Mouth Taping & What are the Benefits?
- How to Get Started with Mouth Taping at Night
- My Personal Experience with Mouth Taping (& Reader Testimonials)
- What’s the Best Brand of Mouth Tape to Use?
What is Mouth Taping & What are the Benefits?
You might be wondering…Becca what on EARTH is mouth taping?! It’s simple: you sleep with tape over your mouth at night, which forces you to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth! 👃👄
Breathing through our nose is how we SHOULD be breathing and there are undeniable benefits:
- Increases nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide helps oxygen reach the bloodstream, and we produce roughly 25% of nitric oxide from nose breathing. It plays in role in regulating blood pressure and inflammatory response, deeper sleep (mouth breathing has been linked to sleep disorders!), increasing endurance, reducing the risk of heart disease, improving gut function, enhancing memory, relieving symptoms of anxiety/depression, and sooooo much more.
- Puts your body in a parasympathetic state (rest and digest mode). Our brains actually interpret chronic mouth breathing as a “fight or flight” situation!
- Stops your mouth from getting dry which can help maintain a healthy oral microbiome and prevent cavities (more on this below!)
- Can potentially prevent nighttime snoring, drooling, tossing and turning, teeth grinding, and waking up to pee (maybe mouth tape would be a nice gift for a snoring loved one hint hint wink wink 🤣)
- Acts as the first line of defense for our immune system. Our nasal cavity filters out particles and stops contaminants from reaching our lungs. Nose breathing also humidifies and controls the temperature of the air we inhale.
Studies for all of these are linked at the bottom of this post!
“Noses are for breathing, mouths are for eating” -Patrick McKeown, breathing expert
I’ve even read that mouth breathing can negatively affect your posture and alter the shape of your jaw (leading to crooked teeth and a myriad of dental issues)! It’s pretty wild once you start looking into it. I think Eleven knows what’s up!
Let’s chat more about the connection between mouth taping and dental hygiene!
What initially intrigued me about mouth taping was the potential for a good night’s sleep. But what really kept me hooked was the connection to healthier dental hygiene! 🦷
You know when you wake up and your mouth feels disgusting or dry? That’s from mouth breathing!
And here’s the kicker! Dr. Mark Burhenne, DDS considers mouth breathing the number one cause of cavities—even ahead of poor diet or bad dental hygiene! Crazy, huh?
Long story short, mouth breathing leads to dryness, changes the pH of your mouth, puts you at risk for bacteria growth, and leaves you more prone to tooth decay (we need saliva to help remineralize teeth!). Mouth breathing has been associated with bad breath, bleeding gums, cavities, tooth sensitivity, and other dental problems.
Even the holistic dentist that I go to is a proponent of mouth taping! And anecdotally, I used to get cavities ALL the time as a kid, and I haven’t gotten any since becoming a mouth taper.
Related blog post: “Naturally Healthy Teeth & Gums: The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Dental Hygiene”
How to Get Started with Mouth Taping at Night
Many people get uneasy or anxious at the thought of mouth taping. But don’t worry! You won’t suffocate and if you aren’t getting enough oxygen during the night, your body will wake you up.
That being said, mouth taping might not work for everyone. If you have a chronic condition where you cannot breathe through your nose, or if you have a cold and are stuffy/congested, forego the mouth tape until you’re able to nose breathe! 🤧
If you’re nervous about it, my tip would be to apply some tape during the day for an hour or so to see how it goes and get used to the feeling.
The first few nights are an adjustment for sure! You will likely pull the tape off during the night without even realizing it while you’re half asleep. But after a few nights, you’ll adjust and won’t even realize it’s there! 😴
Training your body to be a nose breather can take a while. Some people feel like they can stop wearing the mouth tape after a few months of use, but others (like me!) still need it at nighttime even after many years. I just consider it a staple in my nighttime routine and see no reason to stop!
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
This book was fascinating! It goes into the history of how humans breathe and how we’ve all become mouth breathers. It explains the correlation between mouth breathing and the shape of our jaws, crooked teeth, anxiety, and other complications. The author even did an experiment on himself where he plugged his nose for 10 days (forcing himself to ONLY mouth breathe) and the results were shocking. After reading it, you will 100% be convinced to try mouth taping!
My Personal Experience with Mouth Taping (& Reader Testimonials)
I first heard about mouth taping years ago on a podcast. If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, then you’ll know that I’m always up for trying new things when it comes to health and wellness. So I gave mouth taping a go!
The first few nights, I was definitely aware that there was tape over my mouth. I found myself peeling off the tape during the night and would wake up to find it on my pillow, my hair, or somewhere in the bed 😆
But after those first few nights, I was totally used to it. Some changes I noticed:
- My mouth felt way cleaner and not dry in the morning! You know how you can just tell when you have gross morning breath and cotton mouth? That was gone!
- I used to wake up with jaw pain, stiffness, and clicking (TMJ) which I think was because my mouth would hang open unhinged all night long. Since mouth taping, I no longer have jaw pain! No joke.
- Less waking up throughout the night, less tossing and turning, and more restful sleep
- Made me more aware if I was breathing through my nose during the day; I feel like it has helped train me to be a better breather overall!
Experiment: My sleep quality with and without mouth tape!
I even did an experiment with my FitBit and tracked my sleep with and without the mouth tape. Trust me, I know this is not a perfect study and many factors can affect sleep quality. But aside from the fact that I can just tell I don’t sleep as well without the mouth tape, my results showed that I really DO sleep better with it!
My score was 75 (Fair) without mouth tape and 85 (Good) with mouth tape. I actually slept for a shorter amount of time with the mouth tape, but had higher quality sleep! I spent a longer time in REM sleep and less time in Light sleep. So cool!
In addition, my husband used to make fun of me for mouth taping and didn’t care to try it out for himself. But after hearing my experience, he gave it a try too and is now a fellow mouth taper with me! Ah, the ways we bond and keep our relationship exciting 😂
It’s honestly a staple in my routine, and can NOT imagine ever quitting. I even bring mouth tape with me when traveling because I don’t want to go without it!
Some testimonials from my readers that also love taping:
I have literally gotten tons of messages from my readers that have also noticed benefits from mouth taping. Here are just a few!
What’s the Best Brand of Mouth Tape to Use?
For Beginners: Dryft Lip Tape Strips
Dryft Lip Tape is an amazing place to start if you’re new to mouth taping! It’s medical-grade and uses a gentle adhesive. The strips are in the shape of a mouth with a little vent in the middle. They come in packs of 30 strips and have a plastic backing that peels off. They’re soft and comfortable to wear all night long. I wore one on an airplane once and got some interesting looks 😂
They are more pricey so I’d recommend trying these if you want to get the hang of mouth taping and ease into it and then “level up” to plain surgical tape long-term. But hey, if you’re willing to spend the money long-term, they’re awesome (you can also start a subscription for an extra 10% off)! Dryft is a small, woman-owned company too. Use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on your order.
(Dryft is also available here on Amazon. I have also used Somnifix strips in the past which are another solid option for beginners, but I prefer Dryft because they stay on better!)
Budget Option: Surgical Tape
For the mouth taping pros that want a budget-friendly option! This hypoallergenic latex-free surgical tape is super affordable and will last you a LONGGGGGG time (like, I bought a box of 12 back in 2019 and I am STILL working my way through them!). However, it is stickier compared to the Dryft strips and can be hard to peel off in the morning and sometimes leaves a residue. So I’d recommend either putting on some lip balm before applying or sticking the tape on the back of your hand and peeling it off 1-2 times to lessen the stickiness first. But it gets the job done!
The nice thing about surgical tape is you can cut it to any size you need that fits your mouth. You can either place the tape vertically or horizontally on your lips. It should feel comfortable and have a decent hold (but doesn’t need to be SO strong that you can’t sneeze, for example!).
Have you tried mouth taping? I’d love to hear about your experience! Either way, I know it’s strange, but I hope this post nudges you to give it a try for yourself. It’s TRULY been a game changer for my sleep, dental hygiene, and overall health!
Nose breathing studies:
- Role of endothelium-derived nitric oxide in the regulation of blood pressure
- Inflammation, immunoregulation, and inducible nitric oxide synthase
- Continuous positive airway pressure improves daytime baroreflex sensitivity and nitric oxide production in patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
- Increased oxygen load in the prefrontal cortex from mouth breathing: a vector-based near-infrared spectroscopy study
- The bradykinin beta 2 receptor (BDKRB2) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3) genes and endurance performance during Ironman Triathlons
- Role of nitric oxide in the digestive system
- Nitric oxide-mediated anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like effects in animal models of anxiety and depression
- Numerical simulation and nasal air-conditioning
- Postural disorders in mouth breathing children: a systematic review