What Is Mouth Taping: Deconstructing The Myth

What Is Mouth Taping: Deconstructing The Myth

Does your child breathe through his/her mouth?

Mouth taping has been considered a quick and easy remedy for solving nasal breathing problems. Some people swear by its effectiveness while others are more sceptical. Does it pose any health issues? Is it safe for children to try this method? Let’s deconstruct the myths of mouth taping.

Many of us may wonder “what is mouth taping?”. Mouth taping is the practice of forcing a person to strictly breathe through the nose. Many dentists, sleep specialists, orthodontists and functional medicine doctors recommend what is mouth taping as an easy way to prevent breathing through the mouth. While we are asleep, all our muscles are in a relaxed state, leading the jaws to gape wide open, causing us to take in air through our mouth. Hence the idea that, once our mouth is taped shut, it cannot open during sleep and our body will continue to breathe in through the nose. This technique began with the Buteyko Method, which studied the connection between the way a person breathes and his overall health.

What Is Mouth Taping: Deconstructing The Myth

What is mouth taping? Is it suitable for children? | Photo: iStock

What is Mouth Taping – Its Importance

Human beings are meant to take in air through the nose where it gets filtered and warmed due to the presence of mucus and hair, before reaching the lungs. But there are millions of people around the world who are unable to perform this basic body function due to various reasons. Blocked nose, abnormal structure of the nasal passage, asthma and allergy are some of the common causes of the inability to breathe through the nose, especially at night while one is asleep. But what is the big deal in breathing through the mouth? Medical practitioners say, quite a lot! When we breathe in through the mouth, the dry air gets directly to the lungs without any warming effect or humidification. Chronic mouth-breathing leads to many health issues like heavy snoring, dry mouth, bad breath, poor dental hygiene, orthodontic problems etc. Breathing through the mouth is also a reason for sleep deprivation or disturbed sleep which can lead to further health problems.

what is mouth taping

Photo: iStock

Some Do’s and Don’ts

Now that we know what is mouth taping, let’s see how it can be done scientifically. For instance, using duct tape to shut your mouth during the night is an invitation to disaster. Make sure to use medically approved porous surgical tape or something similar for the purpose. It is always better to fold the ends to form a sort of handle so that you are able to easily take off the tape. Apply a layer of vaseline over your lips before you put the tape over your mouth, to prevent stickiness in the morning. You can also help your body adjust to mouth taping by using the tape for short intervals during the day.

The Other Side

There is a lot of hype surrounding mouth taping with many people swearing by its positive effects. But the question still remains, is it a healthy practice? Many sleep specialists like Kasey Li, are sceptical of this method. Li states that there is no evidence of improved nasal breathing by mouth taping. There has been no case-controlled, evidence-based study undertaken for this technique, leading many medical practitioners to condemn it as a dangerous fad, especially in the case of children. Children are intermittently prone to nasal stuffiness; simply taping their mouth shut is not going to enable them to breathe through their nose. In fact, it may restrict their breathing altogether!

Our nose is not just an adornment on our face; it is the organ through which we breathe. If we are unable to do so, take steps to find out why (with the help of a doctor, if need be) before we turn to a life-hack like mouth taping.

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Written by

Jia Ling

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