The answer might be a bit surprising.
Don’t be alarmed if you see rolls of tape in the cosmetics aisle of your favorite store. The visual of a mouth taped shut used to be reserved for horror movies. Now, according to dozens of TikToks with millions of views, it is a symbol of wellness — if you do it before you go to sleep. This trend is growing so much that “tape mouth” has reached its highest search frequency on Google. But, before you break out the duct tape… what is going on? Is this just a psyop from Big Tape to boost sales as digitization makes tape obsolete? Or does this actually help? Of course, we asked professionals.
What is taping your mouth shut before sleeping supposed to do?
Several TikTok users claim that adding mouth-taping to your nighttime routine will help reduce mouth breathing, which will in-turn reduce dry mouth. According to this TikTok, for example, this will reduce your chance of bad breath, gum disease, cavities, brain fog, and even a weakened immune system.
Another big claim is that taping your mouth at night can help reduce snoring while you’re sleeping. This will, supposedly, improve your quality of sleep and energy levels throughout the day. In a country where 70 million people suffer from chronic sleep problems, everyone is looking for solutions.
Maybe that’s why TikToks for taping your mouth shut at night have nearly 40 million total views.
Is dry mouth really bad?
One thing some of these TikToks are getting right is that dry mouth is bad. It causes bad breath (because dryness is like a dry bar for flourishing bacteria), changes to taste, tooth decay, gum disease, and even mouth infections.
But, according to the American Dental Association, the main causes of dry mouth are aging, medication side-effects and autoimmune disease. More isolated instances can be caused by dehydration and over consumption of dehydrating food or drinks, like alcohol or caffeine.
Does taping your mouth shut at night help with dry mouth or snoring?
According to Dr. Jeffrey Rappaport, “all of the possible benefits of this are all anecdotal and there is nothing scientifically proven, meaning there is no validity that anything good can come from it.” The doctor issues a stark warning as well: “It could be dangerous.”
That makes sense, if you think about it. Twenty two million people suffer from sleep apnea, which is a condition where breathing suddenly stops and starts, reducing your access to air and oxygen. Sleep apnea causes snoring and sleep trouble, which means sufferers may be looking for a solution. But, taping your mouth shut at night may be most dangerous for sleep apnea sufferers, because it cuts off or restricts one of only two places your body can take in air.
How can you help dry mouth, then?
A few things you can do that are proven to help with dry mouth include:
Drinking water, obviously
Reduce your alcohol and caffeine consumption — but you don’t have to go cold turkey
Chew gum, which can also help prevent cavities if it has helpful ingredients like quip gum (it’s stylish too)
Follow a proper oral care routine AKA brushing your teeth gently, at least twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing every day, and visiting the dentist every 6 months. Adding mouthwash and gum will only make your mouth even more healthy. quip’s products are designed specifically to help you follow this routine.
How can you help snoring, then?
“If you are having issues or concerns with sleeping, the first step should be speaking to a doctor (ENT or Sleep Apnea specialist as a start), or trying something simple at home, like a nasal strip,” says Dr. Rappaport. Try all of this “before engaging in a potentially dangerous TikTok trend.”
So, is this TikTok trend of taping your mouth shut a psyop by Big Tape?
Obviously not but… who knows. The real story is that we’re always looking for quick, new, and apparently innovative solutions to long-standing issues. A trend like this takes off on social media because it couples a shocking image — someone with their mouth taped shut — with a potentially helpful and healthy benefit. The best option is to always be healthily skeptical about new trends and stick with research-backed solutions, recommended by doctors, instead.