A new TikTok health trend has people claiming that taping their mouth shut at night is improving their lives.
This trend, designed to stop you from breathing through your mouth during the night, is said by its fans to improve breathing, sleep quality and jaw definition, as well as preventing bad breath.
The TikTok tag #mouthtaping had amassed over 93 million views as of May 22, with thousands of videos supporting mouth taping as a way to prevent mouth breathing and all of the problems that proponents say come along with it.
One user, @celia.gercovich, shared a video of her describing her experiences with mouth taping, which has gained over 114,000 likes.
"I started taping my mouth shut when I go to bed," she said. "And I have literally had the best night's sleep."
She shows the camera how she uses stop tape, folding the ends in for easy removal.
"I think I snore a little. [My partner] thinks I snore a lot, which isn't true, but I feel like I always wake up kind of stuffy and my nose is blocked. But since taping my mouth, I don't wake up stuffy anymore.
Another user, @isabelle.lux, said in a video that "breathing through your mouth contributes to a host of issues including bad breath, gum disease, cavities, brain fog and a weakened immune system. Keeping your mouth shut before bed completely prevents that."
Breathing through your mouth can lead to several mouth health problems. It causes the mouth to dry out throughout the night, leading to increased bad breath, gum irritation, snoring and cavities, compared with nasal breathing, according to the website Verywell Health.
Additionally, mouth breathing at night can lead to snoring and the development of obstructive sleep apnea.
But mouth taping may not be the best way to deal with these problems. For one thing, bad breath can be caused by other factors, meaning that mouth taping may not be a miracle cure.
"The causes of halitosis in the mouth are multifold, ranging from, amongst others, poor oral hygiene, gum inflammation, periodontal disease, poor dietary practices, decayed teeth, fractured restorations and improper cleaning methods for dentures, implants, etcetera," Shenuka Singh, a professor of dentistry at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal, told Newsweek.
"Taping one's mouth at night to avoid halitosis makes no sense when the causes of bad breath could be local, systemic or a combination of both," Singh said. "The advice is to seek professional advice on first identifying the cause of the halitosis and then implementing a safe and scientifically proven intervention. This should be under the guidance of a trained health/dental professional."
Other solutions to halitosis include brushing the teeth, tongue, cheeks and the roof of the mouth twice a day; quitting smoking; and eating healthy foods that make you chew and generate saliva, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.
Additionally, mouth taping can be risky because it can lead to obstructed breathing if the nose becomes blocked. Those with breathing problems such as asthma or a condition that limits their nasal breathing, like a deviated septum or sinusitis, may also struggle to breathe during the night if they tape their mouth closed.
"It is a dangerous practice, especially when a person's airway is blocked—for example, due to congestion—and this could lead to breathing difficulties which could in a worst-case scenario result in a medical emergency situation," Singh said.
Alternate ways to improve sleep include daily exercise, avoiding caffeine near the end of the day and maintaining the same waking and sleeping times every day.
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