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Updated on September 6, 2022

Mouth Tape for Sleep (Snoring)

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What is Mouth Tape for Sleep?

Mouth tape is an adhesive strip you can apply over your mouth to encourage nose breathing while asleep. 

People who breathe through their mouths during sleeping are more likely to have sleep disorders or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1

It’s estimated that around 30 to 50% of adults breathe through their mouths while sleeping, especially in the early morning.2

Mouth tape is an at-home treatment designed to help you breathe through the nose rather than the mouth. 

man snoring while sleeping on white sheets and pillow

How Does Mouth Taping Work?

Mouth tape is a light adhesive strip that gently holds the lips together. You can apply it at bedtime before you go to sleep.

What are the Benefits of Mouth Tape for Snoring?

The benefits of mouth tape include:

  • Promotes airflow through the nose – Nose breathing is beneficial because it warms, moistens, and filters the air as you inhale. It also results in a greater oxygen uptake than mouth breathing.
  • Reduces snoring and sleep apnea – Mouth breathing is associated with snoring and sleep apnea. One small study found that oral patches, similar to mouth tape, might reduce the effects of mild obstructive sleep apnea and mouth breathing.3
  • Reduces oral issues – Mouth breathers have a higher rate of developing gum disease, bad breath, dry mouth, and cavities.
  • Improves sleep quality – Increased nose breathing may help you sleep better at night.

The positive effects of nose breathing are well documented. However, few studies have explored the possible benefits of mouth tape, so there is only limited evidence of its efficacy.

What are the Risks of Mouth Taping?

Mouth tape may cause side effects or pose a risk for some people. Always consult your doctor before you use mouth taping for sleep.

The possible risks and side effects of mouth taping include:

  • Exacerbation of undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea affects about 20% of adults, 90% of whom are undiagnosed.4 If you don’t know you have sleep apnea or don’t currently treat it, you may have obstructed nasal passages. In some cases, mouth taping could cause asphyxiation.
  • Allergic reactions or discomfort – Some people may experience skin irritation, overall discomfort, or an allergic reaction to mouth taping.
  • Poor sleep quality or disruptions – You might wake up frequently if you are uncomfortable wearing the tape on your mouth.
  • Anxiety – Some people might find it anxiety-inducing to wear mouth tape, especially if they have any trauma related to covering their mouth.
  • Pain in removal – It may hurt when you remove the tape, especially if you have facial hair.

How to Use Mouth Tape

Using mouth tape is simple. However, there are no official guidelines for using it, so always consult a medical professional before trying it.

If your doctor recommends mouth taping, follow these steps:

  1. Test the mouth strips during the day to see how your skin reacts to them.
  2. Follow the instructions on the product’s packaging. Usually, you will place the tape horizontally over your lips.
  3. To minimize skin irritation and stickiness, apply petroleum jelly or oil to your mouth before you use the tape.
  4. Fold over one corner of the strip for easy removal in the morning.

Avoid mouth taping for sleep if you have severe allergies that cause significant nasal congestion or suspect you have untreated obstructive sleep apnea.

Where to Buy Mouth Tape 

Mouth tape is readily available online and in drugstores. Some brands alternatively call it sleep tape. You can also use surgical tape to test the technique before you invest in mouth tape.

Common options include:

Sleep Strips by SomniFix

SomniFix’s Sleep Strips are horizontal strips made of a hypoallergenic adhesive. This helps avoid skin irritation and sticky residue. 

They are recommended for continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) users, open-mouth sleepers, and snorers. Don’t use them if you have sleep apnea but aren’t using a CPAP.

Nexcare Pain-Free Removal Tape

Nexcare, a popular medical brand, makes a pain-free removal tape that helps prevent mouth breathing. It’s hypoallergenic and repositionable. You can even apply it to wet areas.

Nexcare Pain-Free Removal Tape is multipurpose, so you can use this product for other needs besides mouth taping.

Azazar Gentle Mouth Tape

Azazar Gentle Mouth Tape is an X-shaped adhesive that keeps your mouth shut. It’s made of ultra-thin medical-grade tape that won’t irritate your skin or fall off easily. It’s also environmentally friendly, as the package and contents are both recyclable. 

Alternative Treatment Options

Mouth tape isn’t the only way to improve nose breathing and sleep. If taping doesn’t work, or your doctor doesn’t recommend it, you may try an alternative:

Allergy or Asthma Treatments

If nasal congestion is your primary problem, medications may be enough. Clogged airways can force your body to breathe through the mouth. Clearing those airways may resolve nasal breathing difficulties.

Nasal Strips

Another at-home treatment to try is nasal strips. They are adhesive strips you place over the bridge of your nose.

Nasal strips are designed to expand your nasal passage and encourage nose breathing. Studies have found that they don’t improve sleep apnea but may reduce snoring.5

Side Sleeping

Studies show that sleeping on your side can relieve the effects of sleep apnea.6 A new pillow or mattress might help you train yourself to sleep in this position if needed.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machines (CPAP)

If you have sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a CPAP. The device fits over your nose and uses light air pressure to keep your breathing passages open.

Lifestyle or Routine Changes

You may also find that minor tweaks to your routine or lifestyle may help your sleep, including:

  • Avoiding alcohol and food immediately before sleeping
  • Quitting smoking
  • Doing breathing exercises
  • Cutting down on caffeine
  • Exercising regularly

Summary

Mouth tape is an at-home treatment designed to encourage nasal breathing while sleeping. It’s a small adhesive strip that keeps your mouth shut.

Though research on its efficacy is varied, mouth tape may help you breathe through your nose, reduce snoring, and improve sleep quality.

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on September 6, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Sano, M., et al. “Increased oxygen load in the prefrontal cortex from mouth breathing: a vector-based near-infrared spectroscopy study.” Neuroreport, National Library of Medicine, 4 Dec. 2013
  2. Allen, Ruth. “The health benefits of nose breathing.” Nursing in General Practice, Health Library Ireland, Jan. 2015
  3. Huang, T., et al. “Novel Porous Oral Patches for Patients with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Mouth Breathing: A Pilot Study.” Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, 1 Dec. 2014
  4. Finkel, K., et al. “Prevalence of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea among adult surgical patients in an academic medical center.” Sleep Medicine, National Library of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2009
  5. Camacho, M., et al. “Nasal Dilators (Breathe Right Strips and NoZovent) for Snoring and OSA: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Pulmonary Medicine, National Library of Medicine, 13 Dec. 2016
  6. Ravesloot, M., et al. “The undervalued potential of positional therapy in position-dependent snoring and obstructive sleep apnea-a review of the literature.” Sleep Breath, National Library of Medicine, 24 Mar. 2012
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