Dangerous mouth tape for Tiktok trend sparks concern for Emory sleep experts

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 10:55 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - An unusual Tiktok trend is grabbing the attention of Georgia sleep experts Thursday.

The viral trend has more than seven million people talking about it on social media and now experts are advising against the new ‘mouth taping for sleep’ trend.

Tiktokers stuck on the new trend said you can use any household tape to reap health, beauty and sleep benefits.

“What I notice it that I wake up with just so much more energy and better breath,” one woman said in her post with thousands of likes that she notices that she’s getting better and deeper sleep when she tapes her mouth closed before bed.

Another woman who posted a video using the tape said she’s also reaping the benefits from taping her mouth closed at night, “This also helps with congestion and people with asthma definitely give it a try.”

However, Emory sleep expert, Nancy Collop, spoke to Atlanta News First about some of the medical concerns over the recent trend.

“I do not believe that there are any benefits to taping their mouths closed. In fact, I think it has the potential to be harmful,” Collop said.

According to Collop, breathing through your nose does help you filter out dust and other toxins from your lungs but in her 30 years of experience, she still hasn’t seen something quite like this.

“If you have to cough secretions or if you feel like you have to throw up or something and your mouth is closed and you can’t get rid of it, typically what happens in that situation is it can go down into your lungs,” Collop said.

Many people on social media also said they’re now doing anything to avoid breathing through their mouths, over fears of how it might impact their faces.

“Apparently it causes your mouth to shift back giving a double chin, makes your nose shift down, makes your eyes look very tired with less prominent cheekbones,” another woman said in her mouth-taping TikTok video.

Collop said, “Usually children particularly are obligate nose breathers, so they want to breathe through their nose. So if indeed they can’t breathe through their nose they’ll open their mouth and that can change the configuration of their mouth, their airway, and possibly the way they develop. So there is some potential truth to that they may tend to develop a longer face.”

Callop said she hasn’t come across any evidence to support a skeletal face change in adults who sleep with their mouths open and parents should never tape their kid’s mouths closed in these situations, but they should see a doctor to rule out early stages of sleep apnea.

Many of the believers, stuck on the trend said you can even buy special tape for mouth-taping sleep sessions.

“I just put this little piece of blue tape over my mouth when I go to sleep,” another woman said in her post.

Collop told Atlanta News First that she has seen the blue tape before, but she says she only uses it on her sleep apnea patients who use a pressurize air mask to sleep at night to keep their airways open. Collop said she still doesn’t recommend it, “They should talk to their primary care doctor or an ear nose and throat specialist.”

Callop said if you are trying to avoid your jaw from slipping back you can also wear a mouth guard at night to keep your jaw from shifting.