Originally at: https://doctorstevenpark.com/the-mouth-taping-controversy-for-better-sleep?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-mouth-taping-controversy-for-better-sleep
Does It Work And Is It Safe?
My wife Kathy keeps making fun of me for using tape to fix all of life’s problems. For example, I take black electrical tape with me while traveling to cover up all electronic LED lights at night to sleep better. I have to admit that I’ve used duct tape on a number of occasions for temporary home repairs. More recently, I have been taping my lips closed at night for better sleep. I have to admit that overall, I do seem to be sleeping better.
Mouth taping has been promoted by dentists, myofunctional therapists and various holistic health practitioners for a number of years. During a cursory search for its origins, I could not see anything mentioned before the past 5 or 6 years, except for lip taping in children with a cleft lip.
Several societies and prominent physicians have cautioned against it. This myofunctional therapy website recommends avoiding lip taping. Dr. Kasey Li, a world-renown ENT and maxillofacial surgeon advises against it in this Forbes article. My specialties (ENT and sleep medicine) are generally against it. Up until recently, I was against it too, until I heard countless patients telling me that they sleep better with mouth taping.
My Personal Journey
About 3 months ago, I decided to take the plunge and try mouth taping for myself. I tried different types of tape and different ways of placing the tape. The most commonly recommended type of tape is the 1 inch 3M micropore paper tape, but I had no problems using other types of tape. It’s a personal preference. The other issue that I played with was tape placement. Most experts recommend a single horizontal position across your lips. There are several commercially available mouth tape options to keep your mouth closed. I’ve even seen some photos of people using nasal dilator devices (Breathe Right strips®) or a Band-Aid.® Remember to use lip balm if your lips get dry.
One way of tape placement ended up working best for me: vertically from the upper lip (base of the nose) to under my chin. What I found was that if you stop just under your lower lip in front of your chin, your mouth can still open significantly. I see this happening all the time in the operating room during drug-induced sleep endoscopy. With the mouth closed, the space behind the tongue is relatively open (Photo 1), but if your mouth opens about 1/2 inch distance between your teeth, the tongue moves back severely with almost total obstruction (Photo 2). Try it yourself. While keeping …