TikTok is a bizarre place, known for its weird trends, and one such trend called the “Mouth Taping” trend is picking up pace. As TikTokers offer unusual sleep advice for deeper sleep, reduced snoring and no mouth breathing, experts are warning against the practice, which is doing more harm than good. Read on to learn all about it.
What Is The “Mouth Taping” Trend On TikTok?
While TikTok continues to provide entertainment to its global user base, it has also become well known for its bizarre and dangerous challenges. From the “blackout” challenge to the “milkcrate” challenge, many TikTokers have suffered major injuries, and mark my words, some even died as they continue to indulge in these dangerous fads.
Nowadays, a new trend called “mouth taping” has surfaced over TikTok wherein TikTokers are advising a unique way to solve mouth-breathing problems. Per this trend, you have to tape your lips shut and breathe through the nose instead. At the time of writing this article, the hashtag #mouthtaping had more than 23 million views on TikTok.
If you’re wondering about the process, it basically means that challengers have to take a small piece of tape and put it on their lips. The adhesives used for this are usually medical-grade tapes that are meant to be used on the skin. Additionally, people only use a small amount of tape and do not seal their mouths completely.
TikTokers partaking in the challenge claim that the activity helps them keep their mouths closed while sleeping and promotes nose breathing. They suggest that it will help with deeper sleep, reduced snoring and no mouth breathing.
The Benefits Of Nose Breathing…
TikTokers are claiming that nose breathing is healthy, and yea, it makes a lot of sense too. But again, is this “mouth-taking challenge” harmful? Well yes, and it’s not me, it’s the medical practitioners who suggest so. Before discussing why–Let us discuss the benefits of nose breathing.
Nose breathing is a healthy habit that comes with numerous advantages. In a conversation with Newsweek, Sleep expert James Wilson, aka The Sleep Geek, listed many different advantages of nose breathing. He suggests that it is healthier than mouth breathing as it filters foreign particles out, and humidifies the air we breathe in.
Moreover, breathing through the nose helps dilate blood vessels, which can help the body circulate blood more effectively. Not only this, James suggests that it helps prevent tooth decay, reduces snoring, reduces the impact of asthma and even helps prevent bad breath.
What Is The Advise On Mouth-Taping?
While there is a lot of buzz on the mouth-taping challenge, here are so Dos and Don’ts for newbies:
- Don’t use tape that is not intended for use on human skin
- Don’t use an excessive amount of tape or cover your nostrils
- Don’t use it if you’re snoring and haven’t been tested for sleep apnea
- Don’t use it if you have allergies to the adhesive material
As for the Dos, here are some tips:
- Do try the tape while you’re awake to get used to the sensation.
- Do close your lips lightly and rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
- Do consider mouth taping during light exercise.
- Do use with your CPAP or oral appliance for sleep apnea, after consulting with your doctor.
- Do shave the area for easy removal of tape.
Medical Practitioners Are Against Mouth-Taping…
Is the Mouth Taping challenge worth it? In this regard, James Wilson advised that “despite the benefits of nose breathing, people should not tape their lips in order to develop these good habits since it can have dangerously adverse effects on their health and well-being.”
Medical experts say no to mouth taping, explaining that the risk related to the activity is comparatively high when compared to its advantages. Speaking about the trend, Wilson revealed: “Unfortunately, mouth taping is an extreme way of encouraging nose breathing that has some serious health risks.”
He continued by saying that the activity can “contribute to more serious issues like heart disease, COPD and stroke, particularly if applied and you are a sleep apnea sufferer.” Another expert, Dr Aarti Grover, medical director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Tufts Medical Center, shared a similar sentiment. She explained that shutting lips can result in lower oxygen intake at night, and added:
“Imagine you have an obstruction in your nasal cavity either from allergies or you’re congested and on top of that you tape your mouth, it could be problematic because you’re not getting enough air in from your nasal or your oral cavity, this could result in a person not getting enough oxygen at night.”
Another practitioner, Dr Kathryn Boling, a primary care doctor at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, deemed the TikTok challenge a “terrible idea.” She revealed that human lips are too delicate to stick and rip off tape every day. If a person with a taped mouth gets nauseated or sick and has to throw up, this may result in choking on your own vomit.
What Should You Do Instead?
While there are a plethora of things on TikTok, blogs and even anecdotal evidence about the benefits of mouth taping specifically for sleep, there are no scientific studies to prove the same. Therefore, the best thing to do is to consult a medical practitioner if you’re facing any breathing condition.
On the other hand, instead of participating in these self-developed trends, experts recommend engaging in various breathing exercises, which can foster breathing through the nose, without going to extreme levels of mouth taping. What do you think about this trend?