Trends in Dental Hygiene: Mouth Taping for Sleeping
We frequently see fads, or “life hacks”, pop up in the dental field. One that has been gaining much notoriety lately is “Mouth Taping”, which simply entails applying some form of adhesive tape to both lips to maintain closure of the mouth while sleeping. The reported benefits from this practice range all the way from improved dental health to increased psychological well-being. This blog looks at some of the key concepts related to oral health and whether this practice can be helpful, or possibly harmful.
Benefits of Mouth Taping
Enhanced Nasal Breathing
Mouth taping allows for significantly better nasal breathing because it keeps the mouth closed during sleep. Breathing through the nasal passages reduces airway dryness and allows for warm, lubricated, filtered air to extend into the lungs. This can be beneficial for certain lung diseases such as asthma. It is also possible to see more efficient breathing patterns when air is flowing through the nasal passages instead of the mouth and throat. Ineffective breathing can lead to teeth grinding, or bruxism, and can cause significant damage to enamel and tooth structure.
When the teeth are covered in saliva through the night, the healthy oral microbiome remains intact and will lower the amount of inflammation seen in gingival tissue. This saliva also prevents the pH of the mouth from becoming too acidic, which leads to tooth decay and cavities. Our hygienists have witnessed a visible improvement in the oral health of patients that have transitioned to mouth taping.
Reduction in Snoring
Some individuals do report less snoring. It is not known if this prevents snoring completely, or simply decreases soft tissue vibrations in the throat. A reduction in these vibrations could promote more restful sleep with less interruptions and noise. Snoring is not to be confused with diagnosed sleep apnea. While mouth taping might reduce the incidence of snoring, there is no clinical evidence it prevents the classic apneic breathing pauses associated with this condition.
Risks of Mouth Taping
While mouth taping may be a safe process for most people looking for better sleep, there just isn’t enough clinical literature or research on the topic. Individuals with nasal congestion, allergies, or upper respiratory inflections may not be able to tolerate having their mouth sealed during sleep. Those with sensitive skin can experience reactions from the adhesive, and others can suffer insomnia from anxiety and sleep disruptions of mouth-taping.
While individual experiences vary, mouth taping may not be suitable for everyone. As with any advice you are given, it is important to discuss any changes with your healthcare or dental professionals before trying them. Your personal health history and pre-existing conditions should always be considered to avoid any unnecessary risks to your health.