The dangers of the viral TikTok mouth taping trend

Taping your mouth shut can obstruct breathing, cause irritation or allergic reactions to tape, and disrupt your sleep
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 5:30 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - More and more people are taping their mouths shut to stop themselves, or others, from snoring. Doctors say that it’s not that effective, and isn’t a good idea.

Mouth breathing isn’t very good for you, and while it seems like using nose strips is an easy fix for this and for snoring.

“It’s definitely not for putting tape on your mouth,” said Registered Sleep Technologist Tonda Nicholson of Aspirus Health.

Taping your mouth shut can obstruct breathing, cause irritation or allergic reactions to tape, and disrupt your sleep. It can even worsen sleep apnea, which happens when the throat muscles relax and block airways, often causing snoring. A 2019 study says that over 1 billion people between ages 30 and 69 are thought to have obstructive sleep apnea, while millions more are undiagnosed.

“Typically, if you have a problem with snoring, it really needs to be talked about with your physician and have an adequate study,” said Nicholson.

Nicholson also says that snoring alone can lead to a stroke or heart attack. It’s your body letting you know something is going on with your airway. It could be affected by, among others, a deviated septum, tonsils, or being overweight.

“And all of those, they really can’t be resolved with a piece of tape,” said Nicholson.

Some doctors on TikTok have been urging people to try taping their mouths shut. Aside from those using nose strips on their mouths, there’s also tape to be specifically used on mouths.

“These companies are selling it, and there’s always going to be a high percentage of people that are going to try it because they’re willing for any remedy that might work,” said Nicholson.

Nicholson says there aren’t a lot of studies done on these products, and those companies and doctors selling these strips are often doing so without adequate research to back them up. She also says there are other options out there to combat these issues.

“With snoring and mild sleep apnea, the mouthpiece is very effective, and insurance companies do pay for that,” said Nicholson. She also suggests getting an elevated bed, because elevation can help limit how much you snore.