TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A TikTok trend about taping someone’s mouth closed while sleeping to prevent “mouth breathing” has gone viral, and doctors are telling those who see the videos to be cautious.
According to SleepFoundation.org, the practice involves people using medical tape at night to address snoring, bad breath and other issues.
“People may try mouth taping because they believe that by forcing themselves to breathe through the nose, they can avoid negative effects associated with mouth breathing,” the website says.
The trend has taken off on TikTok. A user who goes by the handle @movewithjames has a video on the trend with more than 3 million views. Text on the video says “why I started mouthtaping 2 years ago” and lists his problems, which included waking up with a sore throat or jaw.
Another user, @isabella.lux demonstrates “mouth tape benefits,” saying breathing through your mouth while sleeping contributes to “bad breath, gum disease, cavities, brain fog and a weakened immune system.”
“Taping your mouth shut before bed can completely prevent that, I’m not kidding, you will have the best sleep of your entire life,” she says.
Her video on the social media platform currently has over 478,000 views.
The practice has been studied and the results were published by the National Library of Medicine.
“Taping the mouth at night had no effect on asthma control in patients with symptomatic asthma,” the study said in its conclusion. The study had 50 participants.
The director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Tufts Medical Center spoke to USA Today in April about the trend. Dr. Aarti Grover said that mouth taping wont solve the issues, which could be dangerous, due to problems like sleep apnea.
Another doctor from the Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore told the news organization it’s a “terrible idea.”
“…if you happen to throw up in the night and your mouth is taped, you run the risk of choking or suffocating on your own vomit,” she said.
SleepFoundation.org lists alternatives to mouth taping, including side sleeping, nasal strips, treatment for allergies and asthma, practicing good oral hygiene and more.