Mouth Taping: The Secret to Better Sleep and a Healthier Mouth

I think mouth taping is likely to be the next big thing in health, as people learn the huge benefits of nose breathing. If you’re afraid of using mouth tape, let me dispel your fear. We’ll talk about the right way to do it, the reasons why I mouth tape every night, and much more.

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mouth tape

Every night, after my wife and I say goodnight, I reach for a roll of mouth tape in the drawer of my bedside table. Relaxing my lips my keeping them closed, I place the tape over them before I turn off the lights.

Sound bizarre?

That’s what I thought at first, too, but the health benefits of nose breathing are undeniable.

Using mouth tape forces you to breathe out of your nose (instead of your mouth). This is a simple way to reap the benefits of better sleep and improved oral and dental health.

I noticed that one woman, Eliza, was mouth breathing during an appointment, so I sent her home with some mouth tape.

She mouth taped that night and immediately discovered that it was impossible for her to do so. It was a good indicator that Eliza hadn’t been nose breathing, so she slowly trained herself to do it.

Now, years after finally learning how to nose breathe, Eliza says she has transformed, and so has her health.

She has better focus, memory, and concentration. Her anxiety is greatly reduced, and she also hasn’t had a cavity since.

If you’re breathing through your mouth while you sleep at night, it’s a big deal.

Not only does it reduce the quality of your sleep, but it disrupts the balance of your oral microbiome and makes you more prone to tooth decay.

In fact, I consider mouth breathing the number one cause of cavities—even ahead of poor diet or bad dental hygiene.

Mouth tape is a tool that everyone should have in their medicine cabinet—or nightstand, if you’re like me.

In this post, I’ll provide more info on what it is and how it works to improve health, and I’ll also outline how to get started using mouth tape if you’ve never tried it before.

Disclosure:
Ask the Dentist is supported by readers. If you use one of the links below and buy something, Ask the Dentist makes a little bit of money at no additional cost to you. I rigorously research, test, and use thousands of products every year, but recommend only a small fraction of these. I only promote products that I truly feel will be valuable to you in improving your oral health.

What is Mouth Tape?

Before I explain what mouth tape is, I want to be sure that you understand what it isn’t.

Mouth tape isn’t duct tape or any other random, store-bought tape that you just slap on your lips.

Mouth taping is minimally invasive, pain-free, and completely safe (unlike trying to sleep with heavy-duty duct tape covering your mouth).

Brands like Somnifix have created special adhesive strips that are designed specifically for mouth taping. They’re hypoallergenic, easily removed by simply opening your mouth, and shaped to sit directly on the lips.

In the past, I’ve opted for plain surgical tape (which also works great!). But I started using Somnifix Sleep Strips because they’re so much less intimidating.

The design is soft and more gel-like than “tape.” Each strip has a vent for the mouth so that, even if your nose gets stuffed up through the night, you can still breathe easily. They also come off with absolutely no residue left on the lips at all.

Regardless of the method used, the idea is to keep your mouth closed and covered while you sleep to ensure breathing through the nose.

If you are a mouth breather, it’s unlikely that your first night of mouth taping will be successful.

The best thing you can do is to keep trying and be vigilant about practicing nose breathing during the day, when you’re more aware.

Becoming a nose breather is a process, but even repeated cycles of just a few minutes of nose breathing can effectively train your body to do it regularly.

Taping my mouth at night sounds scary—what can I do?

Not quite ready to mouth tape during sleep yet?

That’s okay—a lot of people feel a little freaked out about it at first. Try this instead: after you brush your teeth in the morning, try wearing mouth tape while you finish getting ready and drive to work.

Mouth taping for periods of time throughout the day can help ease your anxiety over nighttime taping. You’ll feel how easy (or challenging) it is to breathe through your nose.

If it’s very hard or impossible for you to use mouth tape, like if you can’t breathe through your nose much or at all, it may be time to set up a sleep study. You can also try a home sleep test to see if you’re snoring a lot or have other obvious signs of sleep apnea.

However, a sleep specialist with data from a full sleep study is the only person who will be able to truly help you get to the root of your problem.

Here’s the thing to remember: If taping your mouth stops you from breathing altogether, something isn’t right.

You should be able to breathe through your nose almost exclusively, unless you’re sick or have some kind of obstruction. For an obstruction, you’ll need medical intervention to find the source.

What’s So Bad About Mouth Breathing?

The simplest way to explain why mouth breathing is bad is to point out how the body was designed: The mouth is for eating, tasting, and talking; and the nose is for breathing and smelling.

When our bodies, or body parts, begin to operate outside their intended function, problems arise.

During mouth breathing, air is forced through the airway at a larger volume than when you breathe through your nose. And when you breathe in air at such a high volume, the collapsible airway tends to collapse.

Children who mouth breathe can have numerous health issues, including abnormal facial growth and development, misaligned teeth, and poor sleep habits that can cause exhaustion and poor mental processing skills. (1, 2)

In fact, the symptoms of mouth breathing in children and teens are identical to the symptoms of ADHD! (3)

Some studies suggest that over half of children diagnosed and treated for ADHD might actually be sleeping with their mouths open (and spending their days that way). (4)

Adults who mouth breathe are more likely to snore and often struggle with sleep disruptions, including sleep apnea. They’re probably the ones drooling while sleeping, too.

Mouth breathing also impacts blood pressure and heart rate, worsens asthma, and deprives the heart, brain, and other organs of optimal oxygenation. (5, 6, 7, 8)

Benefits of Mouth Tape

Now that you know some of the dangers of mouth breathing, let’s take a look at some ot the benefits you can expect from using mouth tape. When your body is trained to breathe through your nose, the results are astounding!

1. Increased nitric oxide levels

Adults and children who mouth breathe care deprived of valuable nitric oxide, which your body produces in the sinuses.

The body produces 25 percent of its nitric oxide from nose breathing, so mouth breathing obviously slashes the amount that your body can access. (9)

Here are just some of the benefits of nitric oxide:

  • enhances memory and learning (10)
  • regulates blood pressure (11)
  • regulates inflammatory response (12)
  • improves sleep quality (13)
  • increases endurance and strength (14)
  • promotes weight loss (15)
  • improves immune/gut function (16)
  • relieves pain (17)
  • reduces heart disease risk (18)
  • helps improve symptoms of anxiety and depression (19)

2. Reduced risk of teeth grinding

Many mouth breathers suffer from sleep apnea or some other form of disordered sleep breathing.

When you have disordered sleep breathing, teeth grinding is the body’s natural reflex to force air into your airways. It’s a life-saving reaction, to be sure. The problem is that it also causing lots of damage to the teeth.

Teeth grinding, medically known as bruxism, can lead to decay, premature aging that causes yellowing, and gum recession.

3. Reduced risk of dry mouth

Many people don’t realize that they have a dry mouth. But waking up with a sticky feeling that has you immediately grabbing for water, or having saliva that is thick and ropy throughout the day are signs that your mouth is drier than it should be.

And a dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable—it’s harmful to the oral microbiome and can negatively impact oral and dental health.

A dry mouth promotes cavities because the teeth are not being bathed in saliva, which contains a certain nutrients that are critical to the the remineralization process.

Dry mouth also lowers the pH of the mouth lowers into the acidic zone, which allows bacteria to flourish and, thus, also promotes cavities.

4. Efficient way to diagnose more serious issues

Mouth tape not only forces you to breathe through your nose during sleep, it’s also a great at-home diagnostic tool.

Many of my patients have sought help from an ENT (an ear, nose, and throat specialist), allergist, or sleep medicine physician after realizing that they couldn’t keep the tape on their mouths all night.

These specialists were able to treat the root cause of the blockage in their noses, helping them nose breathe effortlessly all day and all night long.

These are just some of the reasons to nose breathe.

Myofunctional therapist Sarah Hornsby also wrote a guest post about mouth breathing in children. She outlines more of the important reasons you should nose breathe, and, in particular, make sure your kids aren’t mouth breathing.

(One great method of breathing that fights the dangers of mouth breathing is the Buteyko method, developed by Dr. Konstantin Buteyko. Proponents of this method swear by it for treating asthma and other breathing issues.)

If you can’t keep mouth tape on all night, there’s a chance you have a form of sleep apnea or the less severe UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome). These conditions are serious and impact many areas of health.

That’s why mouth tape is so valuable as a diagnostic tool, too.

mouth tape

How to Mouth Tape for Better Sleep

Mouth taping is as easy as it sounds—you simply tape your mouth shut before bed.

The tape will encourage you to nose breathe even while you’re unconscious in deep sleep. Or, if the mouth tape is removed because you open your mouth to breathe while sleeping, it serves to alert you to an underlying issue.

One great benefit of mouth tape for convenience is that it can cut down on nighttime bathroom trips.

See, when you breathe normally during sleep, your brain shuts down your urges to use the restroom (other than emergency situations). Getting up to urinate in the middle of the night may be a sign your breathing is interrupted.

Plus, mouth taping can help to reverse mouth snoring, although it won’t fix snoring that originates in the nose.

Not sure if you snore through your mouth or nose? If you cover your mouth with a hand and can’t make a snoring sound, then you’re snoring through the mouth.

Here are some additional mouth taping tips:

  • Use specially shaped strips that will fix to your lips without interfering with facial hair, like Somnifix.
  • Pucker your lips out, then attach the sticky side of the strip to your lips. You should notice your lips sitting comfortably as they normally would.
  • Try opening your mouth after putting the tape on. If it’s not fairly easy to open your mouth with just a little pressure, try again to get a better fit.
  • If you find yourself taking off the tape before you wake up, don’t despair! This is great information. Work with your doctor or dentist to understand what’s preventing you from nose breathing. Some of the most common culprits are a stuffy/dusty bedroom, allergies, or a deviated septum, which is easily fixed with a common surgical procedure.

Anything worth doing takes time, and learning to mouth tape is no exception.

People often find it takes a few weeks to get used to mouth taping, so don’t give up if you find your mouth is open when you wake up for the first few days.

I want to also point out that there are no contraindications for mouth taping. Children and pregnant women can mouth tape safely without fear, particularly if using gentle tape like Somnifix or surgical tape.

If you encourage your children to mouth tape, just make sure they can easily open the mouth if necessary. I wouldn’t suggest this for very young children or babies, though.

Where To Buy Mouth Tape?

Because mouth tape isn’t as widely used as it should be (yet!), ordering online is probably the best way to access multiple options.

I’ve personally tried a lot of different brands of mouth tape. In my book, The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox, I recommend Snorless Strips (which are available on Amazon), but I’ve recently discovered two options I like much better.

Somnifix is the only strip specifically designed for mouth taping, so they fit right over the lips. You also don’t have to worry about taking off skin when you peel them off because the glue has just the right amount of stickiness and leaves no residue behind.

Plus, my friends at Somnifix have a special just for my readers: If you order Somnifix Sleep Strips using one of the links on this page, you can use coupon code DOCTORB to get a buy one, get one half off deal on your first order.

My Pick
Image alt

Sleep Strips by SomniFix

These strips are made with a specially-engineered adhesive that allows you to easily apply and remove the strip without leaving any residue behind

Buy Now

A more budget-friendly option is Micropore tape. It’s more like a standard medical or surgical tape that comes in a dispenser for easy use.

Runner Up: Budget Pick
Image alt

3M Micropore Tape

Buy Now

I’ve personally used Somnifix and surgical tape. I find neither of them irritate my skin, and it’s very simple to use strips each night. Surgical tape is available online or at your local drugstore, if you prefer not to order online.

How Long Do I Need to Mouth Tape?

Even though I’m a good nose breather, I still mouth tape every single night.

Some people mouth tape just long enough to see that they wake up with their mouths closed, but there’s no reason to stop, in my opinion.

Ultimately, unless you have a cold, allergies, or other breathing disruption, you’ll get all the air you need through your nose.

If you have a CPAP machine or oral appliances, you should mouth tape forever. Using a CPAP makes dry mouth even more likely, as it can be more difficult to keep your mouth closed than usual.

That’s why some of the biggest proponents of mouth tape use it in conjunction with a CPAP device.

What if Mouth Tape Doesn’t Work for Me?

As I’ve said, if your mouth tape is separated when you wake up, it’s a sign you’re still sleeping with your mouth open.

This is likely to happen on occasion to anyone. But if you notice it’s happening for several weeks at a time, I would recommend speaking with an ENT, myofunctional therapist, or your dentist.

Why? Because there’s no reason using mouth tape wouldn’t work, unless you’re wearing creams or lotions on your face that won’t allow the tape to attach.

Forcing your mouth open at night all the time is a sign that you can’t breathe properly through your nose.

Final Thoughts

I believe mouth breathing is one of the most likely causes of dental caries (cavities) and gum disease, which is why I recommend that everyone mouth tape at night.

And while some people give up mouth taping once they no longer wake up with an open mouth, you can—and should—mouth tape forever. It’s safe for everyone and has no negative impact if you’re using the proper tape.

There are many varieties of mouth tape available online, but I personally use surgical tape or Somnifix strips.

Using a tape that is gentle on skin but strong enough to keep your mouth closed can help increase your nitric oxide levels. This can directly improve your sleep quality and overall health, in addition to the health of your teeth.

If you find that you are still waking up with your mouth open after trying mouth tape for several weeks, think about your nighttime routine.

Are you applying creams or lotions to your face that can stop the tape from attaching? If not, it may be time to consult with a specialist to find the root cause of your mouth breathing.

I hope this article leaves you confident to develop a new habit that will benefit you and your children for the rest of your lives. Tape up!


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For Further Reading:

Read Next: Mouth Breathing: What Every Parent Needs to Know

References

  1. Basheer, B., Hegde, K. S., Bhat, S. S., Umar, D., & Baroudi, K. (2014). Influence of mouth breathing on the dentofacial growth of children: a cephalometric study. Journal of international oral health: JIOH, 6(6), 50. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295456/
  2. Benninger, M., & Walner, D. (2007). Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing in children. Clinical cornerstone, 9, S6-12. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17584620
  3. O’brien, L. M., Mervis, C. B., Holbrook, C. R., Bruner, J. L., Smith, N. H., McNally, N., … & Gozal, D. (2004). Neurobehavioral correlates of sleep‐disordered breathing in children. Journal of sleep research, 13(2), 165-172. Full text: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2004.00395.x
  4. Huang, Y. S., Chen, N. H., Li, H. Y., Wu, Y. Y., Chao, C. C., & Guilleminault, C. (2004). Sleep disorders in Taiwanese children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of sleep research, 13(3), 269-277. Full text: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2004.00408.x
  5. Jefferson, Y. (2010). Mouth breathing: adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behavior. Gen Dent, 58(1), 18-25. Full text: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/da7a/4cc31d9502ce9028442eb2b02f4cd9cee36e.pdf
  6. Guilleminault, C., Khramsov, A., Stoohs, R. A., Kushida, C., Pelayo, R., Kreutzer, M. L., & Chowdhuri, S. (2004). Abnormal blood pressure in prepubertal children with sleep-disordered breathing. Pediatric research, 55(1), 76. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14605262
  7. Bresolin, D., Shapiro, G. G., Shapiro, P. A., Dassel, S. W., Furukawa, C. T., Pierson, W. E., … & Bierman, C. W. (1984). Facial characteristics of children who breathe through the mouth. Pediatrics, 73(5), 622-625. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6718117
  8. Chaves, T. C., e Silva, T. S. D. A., Monteiro, S. A. C., Watanabe, P. C. A., Oliveira, A. S., & Grossi, D. B. (2010). Craniocervical posture and hyoid bone position in children with mild and moderate asthma and mouth breathing. International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology, 74(9), 1021-1027. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20566222
  9. Settergren, G., Angdin, M., Astudillo, R., Gelinder, S., Liska, J., Lundberg, J. O. N., & Weitzberg, E. (1998). Decreased pulmonary vascular resistance during nasal breathing: modulation by endogenous nitric oxide from the paranasal sinuses. Acta physiologica scandinavica, 163(3), 235-239. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9715735
  10. Weitzdoerfer, R., Hoeger, H., Engidawork, E., Engelmann, M., Singewald, N., Lubec, G., & Lubec, B. (2004). Neuronal nitric oxide synthase knock-out mice show impaired cognitive performance. Nitric oxide, 10(3), 130-140. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15158692
  11. Rees, D. D., Palmer, R. M., & Moncada, S. (1989). Role of endothelium-derived nitric oxide in the regulation of blood pressure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 86(9), 3375-3378. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC287135/
  12. Nussler, A. K., & Billiar, T. R. (1993). Inflammation, immunoregulation, and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Journal of leukocyte biology, 54(2), 171-178. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7689630
  13. Noda, A., Nakata, S., Koike, Y., Miyata, S., Kitaichi, K., Nishizawa, T., … & Yokota, M. (2007). Continuous positive airway pressure improves daytime baroreflex sensitivity and nitric oxide production in patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Hypertension research, 30(8), 669. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17917313
  14. Saunders, C. J., Xenophontos, S. L., Cariolou, M. A., Anastassiades, L. C., Noakes, T. D., & Collins, M. (2006). The bradykinin β2 receptor (BDKRB2) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3) genes and endurance performance during Ironman Triathlons. Human Molecular Genetics, 15(6), 979-987. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16461337
  15. Morley, J. E., & Flood, J. F. (1992). Competitive antagonism of nitric oxide synthetase causes weight loss in mice. Life sciences, 51(16), 1285-1289. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1383664
  16. Konturek, S. K., & Konturek, P. C. (1995). Role of nitric oxide in the digestive system. Digestion, 56(1), 1-13. Abstract: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/201214
  17. Meller, S. T., Pechman, P. S., Gebhart, G. F., & Maves, T. J. (1992). Nitric oxide mediates the thermal hyperalgesia produced in a model of neuropathic pain in the rat. Neuroscience, 50(1), 7-10. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1407561
  18. Kuhlencordt, P. J., Gyurko, R., Han, F., Scherrer-Crosbie, M., Aretz, T. H., Hajjar, R., … & Huang, P. L. (2001). Accelerated atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysm formation, and ischemic heart disease in apolipoprotein E/endothelial nitric oxide synthase double-knockout mice. Circulation, 104(4), 448-454. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11468208
  19. Spiacci Jr, A., Kanamaru, F., Guimaraes, F. S., & Oliveira, R. M. W. (2008). Nitric oxide-mediated anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like effects in animal models of anxiety and depression. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 88(3), 247-255. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17915303

 

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96 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. Harry Mossman says:

    Not sure how well tape would work with a beard and mustache but fortunately I normally breath through my nose, which rarely clogs up even when I have a cold. And after studying the Gokhale Method, I know how to position my head when sleeping so my mouth doesn’t fall open.

    • Dr. Mark Burhenne says:

      Harry, I reached out to the makers of Buteyko breathing strips with this exact question. I myself have a goatee and many of my patients who mouth tape have beards, so it’s a common concern! They recommended tearing a piece that’s 2″ by 6″ (the size of two strips). The typical approximate size of mouth tape is 1” by 3”. So, the tape is going on the facial hair.

      • Harry Mossman says:

        Actually, the whole idea of having tape over my mouth is almost enough to give me a panic attack. So I won’t be doing it.

      • Marilyn Elliott says:

        I finally found your site on line. I have severe dry mouth. Ordered roll of Micropore tape on Amazon and have had relief ever since. Takes a while to get used to the tape. Sleeping with it the whole night now. Taking the idea to my dentist tomorrow as he could not help me before. I put lip gloss on before the tape.

    • Harry, can you please post the exact link where the Gokhale Method helped you? It would be nice to get details and possibly, pictorial information on what to do and how to do it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nitric oxide is produced allllll throughout the body. Nor just the nasal sinuses. I can imagine an OSA patient being harmed by this technique.

    • Andy Dube says:

      this is actually one of the ways I overcame my OSA

  3. Jacob Froerer says:

    Very interesting!! I’m intrigued enough to try this myself. I’m a dentist in Salt Lake City who often treats patients with OSA and a mandibular advancement device at times can force people’s mouths open at night. This may help some of those patients. Thanks!

  4. I cannot inhale enough through my nose to even fill a fraction of my lungs. Even saline spray works only a tiny bit. Wish I could try nose breathing without fainting. Anyone have ideas how to breathe better through the nose?

    • I suggest you simply use nasal strips, such a BreatheRight. I use the Extra version. It works great for me. In fact, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) alone is not enough. They both are required to open up the nasal and throat passages properly.

      But the MAD often has the problem of keeping the mouth open. If I hold my lips closed, I can breathe just fine. So I will be trying the tape idea.

      By the way, the biggest problem with MADs is the many of them have material between the teeth, particularly in the rear, and this leverages open the front of the mouth by default. Some even leave an opening in the material at the front, which is a bizarre idea. I will be finding a better design because of that flaw.

      I will also say that those individuals who cannot breathe only thru the nose during normal waking activities need to see a surgeon about the obvious problems with the nasal passages.

      • I started mouthtaping about a week ago, am having good success with my breathing and no stuffy nose in the morning . My husband tells me I still snore. I wonder how this can be as I have no trouble breathing through my nose and the tape mostly stays put. I was using a cloth tape at first and no snoring but it leaves some sticky residue. Then used 3D tape but found I could breathe through it thus snored. Last two nights I used paper tape and he said I snored about a half hour last night. I don’t know if this is true as he worries about whether taping is dangerous to my health. I have used mouth appliances which didn’t stop my snoring. We both snore and are bickering over this. Is the type of tape important and will it help stop snoring?

    • It is also difficult for me to breathe through my nose. I use nose tubes. They are really helpful!! Google “Nose tubes for snoring”. They are silicone tubes that widen your nostrils as you sleep enabling you to breathe in more air.

    • Dave Moore says:

      Hi,
      If you look on Youtube for Patrick Mckeown he demonstrates a simple method for clearing the nasal passages to allow nose breathing.
      L&L
      Dave

  5. Hey Dr. Burhenne,

    Thanks so much for putting this out there.

    Here’s a question for you: Have you heard back from someone trying this for the first time as an adult (mid-thirties) and immediately getting the nasty cold that’s going around the office? My wife and I both tried taping over the past weekend and I feel like a brand new person while she got sick. Any speculation as to why that may be?

  6. I’ve been mouth taping before sleep for the last 4 days and it is quickly changing my life. I was a bit nervous at first panicking I’d suffocate to death- but no, I was fine and woke up with a sensation of vitality which my body hasn’t felt for probably 20 yrs. I’ve been a mouth breather for as long as I can remember and falsely believed it’s a good thing since I can take in more air. I’m in my 40s now and seriously just can’t remember the last time I slept soundly throughout the night. It always takes me forever to fall asleep and wake up feeling groggy, tired and a bit pissy. For the past 4 days I’ve fallen asleep quicker, continuously, and funnily in the same position! I feel incredible and will be spreading the message.

  7. Patrick Veltman says:

    Your article is fantastic. I forwarded it to my grown kids and grand kids (19 of them), several of whom snore rather loudly.
    Several years ago not being able to find a Dentist or Doctor who could relieve the pain from “Burning Mouth Syndrome,” I started taping my mouth shut at night (by chance) to keep from mouth breathing and hurting so bad. WOW! What a surprise? The pain became manageable, I could taste again (after a couple of years suffering), I quit snoring and sleeping became wonderful and I was able to throw away my “breathe right strips” after getting my deviated nasal septum fixed. It was truly a life changing event for me. After experimenting, I started using a 1×3 inch J & J Band Aid. I split one end almost thru the pad and can thus make a “Y” by taping one strip on either side of my nose and the un-split end taped down to my chin. (The pad fits over my lips so no lotion is required). I found this will let me breathe or cough by pulling in my bottom lip if necessary (it’s fairly easy). Thanks for you good advice. It will improve the health of many people.

    • Dr. Mark Burhenne says:

      Vented mouth taping technique: Brilliant! Thanks for the kind words, and I’m so glad you and your family have benefitted from mouth taping.

      drb

  8. I was tolld by a sleep disorder test that I stopped breathing for up to 30 seconds a few times the niht I was checked. Am on a bipap, not cpap. Have dry mouth and throaat. Sometimes lipe stick to teeth. Need to get up and wet mouth. I can see the benefit of nose breathing, which I can easily do. Question: Will I run a risk of not breathing if I pursue the mouth taping?

    • Ther are products on the market I use for dry mouth the Biotene dry mouth line
      I did use the gel for a time https://www.biotene.com/
      But a better one came lately: Xylimelts. It’s a life saver for me, I used to drink about 8 oz + water a night but not anymore.
      I am not selling the products just my experience with them.

  9. I was told by a sleep disorder test that I stopped breathing for up to 30 seconds a few times the night I was checked. Am on a bi-pap, not c-pap. Have dry mouth and throat. Sometimes lips stick to teeth. Need to get up and wet mouth. I can see the benefit of nose breathing, which I can easily do. Question: Will I run a risk of not breathing if I pursue the mouth taping?

    • Before I taped according to my wife I would stop breathing and would gasp for air on a regular basis. After I taped my wife has not mentioned that I stop breathing or gasp for air anymore.

  10. My mom did this to me and my siblings for years in the 60s using scotch tape.

  11. I’m bearded and wondering if a chin strap could be used to achieve the same effect as the tape. Is there any reason why taping is superior?

    • I can address the chin strap idea. It does not work well for people who need the mandible moved forward. Chin straps pull the mandible closed by pulling it up and back at an angle. This can actually make the problem worse for those with a need for a MAD.

      • Dr. Mark Burhenne says:

        well said Michael!

        drb

        • Does mouth taping permanently make me close my mouth when I sleep from then on? I don’t want to continuously tape my mouth for the rest of my life

  12. I am a fifty year old man who began mouth taping last July and only stopped for a month in the fall while having a harvest beard. My digestion is so much better when I tape, I don’t wake up with dry mouth, sleep longer thru the night, and wake up more rested. I use two half inch pieces of 3M medical tape. This works better than only one half inch piece in the middle of my lips. I will continue this simple yet effective solution to stop snoring and to stop grasping for breath!

    • And that’s exactly what I do, but the tape is such that it could be removed by determined lip movement if needed. So long as the nasal passages are clear is works very well like you say. My doctor just laughed, ‘said it sounded dangerous!

      • A sneeze or cough will easily release the tape if necessary. I have some family members that are skeptical. My wife thinks it is a good practice for me but she has yet to try it herself. I’m happy that it works for you too!

  13. Andy Lane says:

    I’m a dentist and have suggested mouth taping to mouth breathing patients for many years, but until recently I had never tried it myself.
    My problem is that since I got a bad cold about 18 months ago I have found it increasingly difficult to go back to nasal breathing; my wife reports sleep apnoea (I stop breathing for extended periods then make a big snort, gasp and then start breathing again) and fairly loud snoring.
    I decided to try the 1″ 3M micropore tape – I have a moustache and beard but this doesn’t seem to matter- and the results are amazing. For the last two nights I have woken without a dry mouth, without all the usual aches and pains (I’m 62 so I thought that was “normal”) and feeling fully rested. Even better is that my wife is better rested too, so I get even less pain from that department!
    I should probably add that I also wear an NTI-tss (or Sleep Clench Inhibitor SCi) device as well as I have a history of nocturnal bruxism. This doesn’t seem to cause a problem.
    I will certainly be recommending this technique to many more of my patients now.

  14. Camille - ByrdAdatto Health Care Lawyers says:

    This is amazing! Not sure how I never heard of this simple trick, but I will suggest my husband tape his mouth. He is a terrible mouth-breather and snorer; it keeps me up at night, and it is getting worse as he ages. He has never been tested for sleep apnea, but will this help his snoring? I don’t want to suffocate him, but I do want BOTH of us to get a better night’s sleep!

    • Did your husband try mouth taping? It should reduce snoring. It quiets my snoring unless I have a stuffy nose. I also think it reduces stuffy nose

  15. I am interested about the mouth tape but mouth tape is not available in our locality. Can I use other types of tape instead of mouth tape?

    • I purchased standard white 3M medical tape at Walmart. It did not have any mention of “mouth tape” on the package

  16. Barry Thorncliff says:

    Okay, I am confused. Some say taping makes them sleep better. However, I have sleep apnia and have a Somnodent Ortal Appliance which pulls my lower jaw out. Taping would negate the effects of the appliance. How do both of these practices fit into the bigger picture? I want a good night’s sleep AND stop snoring.

    • It is very simple. Some of us have mandibles that are too far backward and they must be moved forward to allow the throat’s air passage to be open. Then we need to make sure the nasal passages are open. Barring a stuffy nose, we simple can open the nostrils by using something like a nose strip. Finally, to make sure we breathe thru our noses rather than our mouth, we need some means to keep the mouth closed. Hence the need for tape.

      • Thanks, Michael. But how do I know what is the best way? Do I use the strip on the nose IN CONJUNCTION WITH the appliance? Obviously, I cannot use the jaw strap while using the appliance. So, that one is out.

        • Harry, you are quite correct, but only if the jaw strap pulls backwards at an angle, which I realize most of them do. I’ve been toying with an idea to make a jaw strap that pulls straight upward from the chin. I believe this requires a headband and straps at the back of the head as well, so as to balance out the pull at the front.

          In my case, I believe the ultimate solution is to combine all the solutions, including a nice appliance from Somnowell, when I can afford that.

          • Thanks, Michael.

  17. I bought the tape to try this out but it doesn’t stay on because of the facial lotions that I apply at night. I really don’t want to give up my skincare routine. Is there some other alternative?

    • I was thinking I was going to have the same problem. But, I realized that if I just don’t apply my nightly moisturizer in the ‘tape’ area it would be fine. I just moisturized that area in the morning

      • I find that the tape makes my lips feel really dry though.

        • I put vaseline on my lips only and never have any problem, that really helped me because with the CPAP my mouth was very dry, I can  not stand the heat of the humidifier,

  18. For people who mouth tape, do you find your face or lips irritated from daily taping? What is your remedy?

    • HNN, I used to, especially during the dry cold weather. I started pushing against the tape with my tongue and wetting my lips a little before slowly pulling it off, no problems since.

  19. I wear a night guard and the past week one tooth is sensitive. I believe the sensitive tooth is higher than the matching tooth on other side. Therefore cause that tooth to be sensitive. Just wondering if that makes sense. I wear a too night guard. Would a bottom guard be the solution. I clench at night possibly grinding. Is tapping suppose to help clenching and grinding? My current dentist is of no help ag this time. Please give me some answers.

  20. I’ve tried this for two nights now. I had been using the ZQuiet mouthpiece and while it worked for not snoring, I breathed through my mouth all night and it was cumbersome. The dentist mentioned mouth taping so I tried it. It was much more comfortable. The first night I didn’t have enough tape and it came off at some point because of drool, moisturizer, or sweat – I remember peeling it off at some point because it was flapping around. Last night’s piece made it all night. I felt like I slept better (I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night and could have slept longer when the alarm went off!) but my husband said I was snoring quite loudly, and I’m groggy today.

    Will this get better? Do I need to wear the ZQuiet and tape together? Any advice?

  21. How long before I see an improvement on how I feel? Thank you.

  22. Mouth taping changed my sleep forever. Heard about it on a Podcast, and gave it a try because my mouth was dry each morning. The cool thing is that your nose clears itself once you start nasal breathing. Telling everyone I can about it. Seems weird but since there is no profit in it I guess that’s why its not promoted by doctors or pharmacies.

    • How do you tape? Do you use tie your jaw or use tape? I can’t tape because I have a heavy must ache, which I will never be without.

      • Andy Lane says:

        I tape every night and have a moustache – it’s really not a problem as there’s no hair on your lips 🙂 – I use 3M 25mm micropore tape.

        • Yes, a friend has found 3M Micropore 25mm tape to be perfect for taping the mouth shut overnight (skin cleanshaven, de-greased by normal facewashing, no creams or other oily cosmetics applied after facewashing). Says it sticks firmly, easy to remove, leaves no traces, no need to clean the skin afterwards. Inexpensive and obtainable from pharmacies worldwide (no need to mail-order etc.).

      • You can tape only your lips. I have both a mustache and beard and it works for me.

  23. I tried it for a few days and I have been waking up with a mild headache. Is this normal? Thank you.

    • Could be that you are mostly a mouth breather but are able to keep the tape on through the night. I’d see an ENT and have hime check your nasal breathing.

      Mouth taping is a great home diagnostic for some, telling you it’s time to have your nasal breathing checked.

      drb

      • Hi Dr. Burhenne, Thank you for replying. I do have a deviated septum. I also have an OSA but have not been able to sleep with the CPAP. I have trained myself to sleep on my side, by placing a tennis ball on the back of my t-shirt with a rubber band. I’ve only forgotten to use the tennis ball once in 2 years and I woke up in the middle of the night, face up gasping for air. What are my options if you don’t mind. Blessings.

  24. Err. Something about this really doesn’t rub me the right way, but maybe it’s my anxiety issues. I breathe through my nose 99% of my time spent awake, but sometimes I get nighttime/morning congestion and disabling my backup breathing mechanism is a really scary idea to me.

    • Yes, it must be in your head. 😉 But there will be no problem if you have no congestion in your nostrils. To help with that, don’t forget to use the Breathe Right strips.

      The bottom line is that one must be at peace when they go to bed. If that is not the case, then find out why.

      • Breathe Right strips are no more helpful than a band-aid on the nose, they do not work.

        • Wrong. It is okay for you to say they do not work for you. However, they most certainly work for me. And more many other people, I might add.

          • They help me as well.

    • I have taped for over a year and have not had any issue of needing to get a breath from my mouth. I was very good at gasping for air in the night before I started taping. If my nose plugged up, I’m confident I would wake up and be able to rip off the tape.

  25. Daniel Louzonis says:

    Did it last night for the first time. AMAZING! Hard to explain but I feel like a new person. Tape came off in the morning to cough but I didn’t need it. I continued diaphragmatic nasal breathing all day.

    Sad to hear people who dismiss this without trying it. They can put it on 1 hour before bed and they will feel better before they even fall asleep.

    • I wish it had worked for me, but I would wake up with a headache when I had the tape on. Maybe it’s my sleep apnea or my deviated septum. Not sure.

      • Eddie,
        Have you check with ENT specialist yet? Remember the doctor’s advice. Don’t do anything more until you do. Better safe than sorry.

        Two common sources of headaches is lack of oxygen (hypoxia, as in altitude sickness) and dehydration. Many people (most of the population?) are chronically dehydrated. And I mean from lack of water. Such will definitely affect good rest because the body is out of normal equilibrium.

        You can check the last two yourself while you wait for your doctor’s appointment. Drink a lot of water and make sure your sinus passages are open.

        • Daniel Louzonis, what is the device you are using and where can I get it?

  26. I can’t emphasise more how much truth there is in this post! I’ve used the suggestions in the article but by far the best results so far have been with my recent discovery of KT Tape. Results are amazing. I highly recommend it

    • I LOVE KT Tape for many reasons!!!! How do you use it to tape for mouth taping?
      Just a strip across your entire mouth or thin strip down the center?

  27. It must be something like I use; 3M Micropore paper type tape with something on the lips.I use vaseline only where the tape is on the lips ,it is very gentle will not irritate the skin, used in medical facilities for dressings and sold everywhere. Since I tape about 3 years I have not had a cold since, used to have bad sinus infections and stuffed nose I was using gallons of medicated cold & allergy relief sprays, no more, not even a cold
    This is my own experience I also have a CPAP for sleep apnea and do well with both now.

  28. For Harry : It must be something like I use; 3M Micropore paper type tape with something on the lips.I use vaseline only where the tape is on the lips ,it is very gentle will not irritate the skin, used in medical facilities for dressings and sold everywhere. Since I tape about 3 years I have not had a cold since, used to have bad sinus infections and stuffed nose I was using gallons of medicated cold & allergy relief sprays, no more, not even a cold
    This is my own experience I also have a CPAP for sleep apnea and do well with both now.

  29. OMG!!! This actually works! My boyfriend loves sleeping again! Although I have a deviated septum and still make “noises” when I sleep, it is nothing compared to what it was! The first couple of nights we laughed so hard that I popped the tape right off my face, but after getting over the appearance of my mouth taped shut, we sleep together peacefully. Is there a type of device that a dentist could make that would keep my upper and lower teeth together (like a removable double retainer) while I sleep? I’m thinking of getting out my paper clips and engineering a model of my own! 🙂

  30. I want to mention that I have started using the 3M Nexcare flexible clear tape in one inch wide size for mouth taping. It has done a good job for me, and the best that I have found. It works over a beard and mustache, and stays in place, while others did not.

    This can leave behind some stickiness from the adhesive, but it is easily removed, as the manufacturer recommends, by the application of baby or vegetable oil. Leave on surface for a minute or two and wipe off. Works great.

    Ofttimes I have some adhesive left behind after removal of the Breathe Right Extra strips. I have usually removed it by dabbing at the residue with the sticky side of the removed strip itself, until all is gone. But I have noticed that the oil works here as well.

    I am very pleased with the positive results I gain from the use of the strips and the tape. My nights are much more restful, even without the MAD.

  31. Learned of your site through the Arthritis Summit. I was browsing your articles on sleep and when I read the first one regarding covering the mouth with tape, I started laughing because I have been doing that for five months now. I initially thought of it when I saw little gnats in a room I was sleeping in as a quest and didn’t want them in my mouth as I slept. I had been considering some kind of a mouth guard prior to this after learning how important it was to breath through the nose. So I tried the tape for a temporary fix and have been using it since. My husband doesn’t even know and I have told no one else. So fun to hear I am not crazy to use tape to keep my mouth closed while I sleep!!

  32. Tony Stuart says:

    Dr. Burhenne,
    My wife and I are enjoying the benefits of mouth taping, but the tape you’re recommending is not the best.
    3M’s Micropore seems gentle and easy to peel off when you test it briefly. But after a wonderful 8 hour nose breathing sleep the stuff is welded on to your skin! You can’t feel the edge of the tape to begin peeling, try as you may. Then panic sets in. Ultimately, I had to force open my mouth, and it wasn’t easy to do. The tape tore, but not off my face. It tore longitudinally, right down the middle of the horizontal strip! Only then could I find an edge to grasp and peel, and it didn’t peel off easily, leaving its glue behind.

    Silk tape works well. So does a different 3M surgical tape called Nexcare. No more Micropore please!

  33. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if it’s safe to do this mouth taping while pregnant. I usually breathe through my nose if I can at night, but since becoming pregnant my nose is a lot more stuffed up and occasionally bloody in the expelled mucous or snot, which they say is normal because of higher levels of hormones. My mouth is dry whenever I wake up because I breathe through it more because of this. Any thoughts on the safety of mouth taping while pregnant?

    • Common sense tells us that the whole purpose of using the tape is to make sure our body is using a proper breathing methodology. Therefore, it stands to reason that it is better to have proper air flow than not so as to increase the oxygen saturation in the blood stream while at rest. This in turn will actually help the baby.

      With all that said, I am guessing here that the issues you have may not be hormonal but rather diet-related and exercise level related. As a Bradley Method birth coach I do know the extreme importance of those last items. Reduce or eliminate all animal products. Go for frequent walks. Do your necessary exercises. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts. Drink lots of water. This should clear out your body and reduce the build up of mucus.

      Good luck on such an important and exciting event!

  34. i am wearing a mouth guard from my dentist just in case I grind my teeth. I have quite a bad overbite and after having a dental implant fracture in situ and another one fitted. Shortly after my dentist advised that I should wear the mouth guard in case I grind my teeth. I am a mouth breather but have no knowledge or evidence from my family that I grind my teeth. I really dislike the mouth guard on hygiene reasons . My worry is if I grind my teeth, would taping make the grinding worse?

    • Barbara, I was a big snorer as well as a heavy grinder. My dentists told me for years if I didn’t do anything to stop grinding at night I would lose my teeth prematurely. I have a mild case of sleep apnea and I snore very loudly, my grinding is a way my body tries to adjust my jaws to accommodate better breathing. I learned how to breath through my nose, day and night. Day was easy but night was a challenge so I taped my mouth to sleep. To my surprise, as soon as I started breathing through my nose and mouth taping at night, I stopped grinding too. You can try mouth taping at night (without your night guard) to see if it helps. I use a phone app called “Do I Snore or Grind” to record overnight. It’s free for a month or so and you just need a few nights to find out. It doesn’t hurt to try. Best of luck.

  35. My personal experience is that teeth grinding and mouth breathing are two distinct and separate issues. The issue of hygiene is a separate issue, but I will give my 2 cents in that order.

    If a doctor does not want you to grind your teeth, it must stop to protect the teeth you have. With that said, it appears you must wear the guard device.

    There seems no sure way to tell if grinding is worse with mouth tape, but that would take a scientific study and you have no time for that.

    There is no good reason to breathe thru your mouth, so that must stop as a separate issue. Being relaxed and breathing properly should help with the grinding, as it only stands to reason.

    Any oral appliance must be cleaned daily. The only way I have found to keep things hygienic is to use a sonic bath and Polident tablets. It works for me. You will know right away if it smells fresh.

    Hope this helps.

  36. Alyce Blackwell says:

    I have been mouth taping for three months. I sleep deeper, wake up refreshed, and have much more energy during the day. My problem is that I often wake up during the night with a mouth full of air. I know this is not coming from around my tape, as I tape securely with two strips across my lips and two strips from under my nose to under my chin. I first used a paper tape from Walgreen’s and this did not happen. However when I went back and got the same Walgreen brand again, it did happen. I have also tried adhesive tape and get the same poor results. This mouth full of air usually occurs after sleeping, problem free, for about four hours. What is happening? What can I do about it? It is very annoying and sleep disturbing.

  37. Hi,

    So I am a clencher. Just watched a video by Dr. B explaining that nighttime clenching and grinding may be a result of sleep apnea. That makes a lot of sense to me. It could also explain why I never wake up feeling refreshed and why I crave stimulants like coffee or tea in the morning. I generally avoid these cause I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine and they mess me up.

    I will get the apnea thing checked out, but I am writing because I had taped for the first time tonight and had a weird reaction. Went to bed at 10PM. No probs breathing with the tape. Woke at about 11:30 with a strong buzzing sensation in hands and feet and was also hungry. Got up, had a small snack. Limbs are still buzzing 20 minutes later. Feels weird. Could this be connected to the use of the tape?

  38. mark burhenne dds says:

    I’d continue to tape to see if it’s related. Then stop after a week and see if it goes away. Though you may not be able to sleep with your mouth closed as you did wake up 1.5 hrs later. See an ENT and have your nasal passages checked. Also, if you think you have sleep apnea, I’d get a sleep as well. A very reliable and quick and inexpensive version here: knithealth.com/askthedentist.

    Good luck!

    drb

    • Doc, perhaps you missed a few words. Please clarify. Thanks.

  39. Laura Harrison says:

    Thanks for the response, Dr. B. I have continued to tape without that buzzing issue. I wake up often anyway. Feel like I am never getting good REM. Good news tho. Thanks to you, I went to my doc this morning and will be doing the home sleep study. So grateful to have found your info. I would have never considered apnea. Interestingly, I came across your alternate profile for apnea and I fit into 3 categories. Petite woman (around 100lbs), long neck, and wasn’t breast fed. This is in addition to the fact that I clench my teeth at night.

    I suspect that I may have had apnea for many years. I am also cursed with a very poor ability to process caffeine, which is a definite drawback. Without it, I drag myself through the day. Feel like I have spent my whole life trying to find the right stimulant. Coffee and tea just make it worse at night. If this is the problem and I can fix it, my life will be so much better. Thanks again for getting the message out. It has the potential to really change lives.

  40. Taping, and side sleeping, have made a huge difference for me. I don’t sleep perfectly yet, but it’s a great improvement. Over breathing and mouth breathing (day or night) and anxiety seem to go hand-in-hand, so other ways to reduce anxiety seem to help as well – meditation, exercise (while nose breathing), lifestyle changes, etc.

    I’ve been using athletic tape from The Dollar Store ($1 per roll) – Assured Athletic Tape, 1 1/2 in x 8 yds for about 2 years. Works great and low cost. I apply a light coating of lip balm around my mouth area and on my lips (too much and it won’t stick, too little and it does stick tightly), then fold the corners after I apply so I have a pull tab to more easily remove. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t leave residue. I found other athletic tapes to be too strong, but this is the cheapo brand, works great for me.

    If you’re thinking about taping, and worried you may feel panicked or uncomfortable, I found that starting with a piece that left the corners of my mouth open just a little bit was a way to ease into it. Once I felt the difference in the morning, I was all on board.

  41. I must say that I have recently had excellent results with the one inch wide clear 3M Transpore tape. Even with a beard and mustache, it sticks all night long, well enough for me. I am very pleased.

    Please note that if there is any adhesive residue left over, have a small container of vegetable oil handy and rub a little around over your lips and cheek wherever you find it sticky. After that, wipe it off with a little toilet tissue and you’re good to go.

    • Michael, Did sleeping with you mouth tape reap any benefits? I am a mouth breather because of my chronic congestion at night.Thanks

      • Oh my, yes, Eddie! No snoring, even without a mandibular advancement device (MAD). No dry mouth. No apnea at all.

        I should say that I have also begun sleeping with an incline (try a night in a recliner to see how it works). This takes the load off of the throat wanting to close up the farther back one reclines. The problems is that the tongue wants to fall into the throat, as you know.

        I found the same problem at the dentist’s office. When they recline me too much I cannot breathe thru my nose.

        I believe we must all take any steps we must so as to have a good solid night’s sleep. A good pure latex mattress that is of the correct firmness for our body weight, a good pillow, a dark and quiet room and a cool environment are all a necessity. We need to learn to sleep on our sides, and with the proper mattress, we can learn to sleep much better.

        • charlotte says:

          @michael and @dr.b
          based on your experience, how long does the body take to relearn to breathe through the nose if i am taping my mouth nightly and it is going well?
          3 months? 6 months? a few years? rest of my life?
          i am a 34yo, have had mouth breathing problems since i was a kid; my sleep quality has been pretty good overall though i have been known to snore if i am physically exhausted; i have tried mouth taping for the past week, and it has worked pretty well for me so far. 🙂

  42. I clench (not grind) my teeth at night and I got two infections because I didn’t use my night guard for 5 years. One tooth needed a root canal and the other one had to be pulled off (it was cracked.) I don’t want to crack any more teeth because I didn’t use a night guard. I don’t think mouth tape alone will prevent me from clenching my teeth and my dentist insistes that I NEED to use the night guard it so I really want to keep using it. When I wear it my mouth doesn’t stay closed and I wake up with very dry mouth. Can I use mouth tape along with the mouth guard?

    • Mark Burhenne, DDS says:

      YES!!! Mouth tape is a PERFECT companion to an oral appliance!

      In health,

      Angela
      Reader Support

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