Medical professionals are raising eyebrows — and concerns — about a new viral trend on TikTok known as “mouth taping.”
Some users of the video sharing platform claim that taping the mouth helps if people are looking a better night’s sleep.
However, one doctor told Fox News Digital that it was “the most dangerous trend I’ve heard about in a while,” while others also expressed caution and concern.
The practice involves people placing a small piece of tape over their lips to seal them before going to bed.
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This forces breathing throughout the night to be done through the nostrils.
TikToks video views that explain how to “tape your mouth” are millions on the platform.
One account, ‘Movewithjames’, posted a video less than a week ago about taping the mouth – and to date it has garnered around 2.8 million views.
Breathing through the nose whenever possible and naturally is recommended by health experts – as long as it is not forced.
— Dr. David Culpepper
“In general, it’s healthier to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth,” according to Healthline.com. “This is because breathing through the nose is more natural and helps your body use the air you breathe in more efficiently.”
The hairs in the nose help to filter out foreign particles while humidifying and moistening the inhaled air.
Breathing through the nose also produces nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels, which can help circulate oxygen throughout the body, the source said.
FILE-A man sleeping soundly. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty images)
However, the outlet also reports that “in some cases, mouth breathing is necessary. You may need to breathe through your mouth if you have: nasal congestion, deviated septum, or small nostrils.”
Medical experts say lips should never be forcibly taped shut unless under the direct direction of a doctor (such as during surgery).
“This is one of the most dangerous trends I’ve heard about in a while, and I’m quite concerned that it’s being advocated as a ‘health’ trend,” Dr. David Culpepper, a Lexington, Kentucky-based general practitioner, told Fox News Digital this week.
“Put quite simply, deliberately obstructing the airway during sleep is a terrible idea,” he added.
As a result of a TikTok search for #mouthtaping, one video shared a disclaimer with the footage that read: “Participating in this activity may result in injury to you or others.”
Fox News Digital has reached out to TikTok for comment.
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Noting that “millions of people suffer from health problems that affect their breathing during sleep, such as sleep apnea,” Dr. Culpepper said that forcefully gluing the mouth shut can make sleep apnea worse — which can be fatal.
FILE – Woman fast asleep with alarm clock. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
“Sleep apnea is associated with heart disease and early death,” he said.
“Also, if your nasal cavity gets blocked at night due to a cold or allergy,” Culpepper continued, “you can suffocate from not getting enough air.”
He also stressed: “I would urge anyone considering mouth taping to reconsider – and if you’re experimenting with this dangerous trend, you need to stop.”
Dr. Baljinder S. Sidhu, a pulmonologist and sleep specialist who co-owns Pacific Coast Critical Care Group in Southern California, told Fox News Digital, “Generally speaking, breathing through the nose is much more difficult to achieve in sleep time compared to wakefulness. is due to the effects of gravity when lying down or flat, [plus the] relaxed muscle and tissue tone during sleep – all of which are usually exacerbated by our normal negative pressure breathing.”
— Dr. Baljinder S. Sidhu
He added: “A lot [people] suffer from nasal congestion from allergies due to bedroom triggers, including dust mites.”
“I would not recommend taping the mouth as a solution to any medical problem,” he added. “In sleep medicine we aim to achieve nasal breathing, but this is done using different techniques/devices for different people.”
He also said: “Some examples include chin straps for nasal CPAP users, oral devices for those with concave/small jaws or large tongues, or even more creative devices such as a tongue detent.”
He explained that “newer treatments include treating high-arched palate (high-roofed mouth) in children to try to prevent the negative effects on nasal breathing that this causes later in life.”
“Unfortunately,” he added, “once the bone has formed, it’s much more difficult to treat in adults.”
Dr Sidhu also said: “Mouth taping is far more likely to worsen nighttime breathing during sleep than to have a positive effect. If you have problems with dry mouth or mouth breathing, I would recommend seeing a sleep specialist or ENT and figuring out how best to treat it.”
In addition, Dr. Shiv Sudhakar, a physician in Northern California and a fellow at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, shared with Fox News Digital, “Mouth breathing has been linked to several medical problems such as snoring or allergies.”
“Although there is a new online trend of mouth taping to treat mouth breathing, it is important to know that the information so far about the treatment is only anecdotal, meaning more clinical studies are needed to know if it is safe a procedure that treats a health condition.”
He added: “While some people may benefit from the technique, it can cause unintended side effects, so it’s important to know the potential risks and benefits before actually doing it yourself.”
“Always talk to your healthcare provider first to make sure it’s something that might be right for you.”
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