The Professionals in Tooth Care

Can Mouth Taping Correct Mouth Breathing During Sleep?

Breathing through your nose during sleep instead of your mouth is beneficial because nasal hair can filter out allergens and humidify inhaled air. During nasal breathing, your nose releases nitric oxide, which helps to widen blood vessels and improve circulation. If a person mainly breathes through their mouth during sleep, they may be more prone to oral health issues. Take a look at how mouth breathing affects your health and how mouth taping could help.

Why is Mouth Breathing Detrimental to Oral Health?

Mouth breathing at night can lead to developmental issues, dry mouth, and obstructive sleep apnea/bruxism.

Changes in Anatomical Development 

Chronic mouth breathing can affect craniofacial development in children. Children who breathe through their mouth may develop deviated septums and narrow palates. Since children may develop a narrow palate, teeth may come in crooked, which would require orthodontic intervention. These anatomical changes can also increase the risk of sleep apnea since the upper airway can relax and collapse during nighttime mouth breathing.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a condition where your oral glands don't produce enough saliva. Healthy saliva production is important for good oral health since it can wash away food matter and deliver minerals to strengthen enamel. This condition can make one prone to gum disease and cavities since the dry environment makes it easier for bacteria to thrive.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Bruxism

As previously mentioned, mouth breathing during sleep can relax the upper airway enough that it collapses during the sleep, thus leading to sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to bruxism, or teeth grinding. Bruxism is detrimental to oral health because the pressure between opposing teeth can cause microfractures in enamel and gum recession. 

Can Mouth Taping Help?

As the name suggests, mouth taping is a practice where you place tape over your lips at night so that you can avoid mouth breathing and breathe through your nose instead. While mouth taping isn't a panacea, one study found that this practice could help people with sleep apnea as an alternative treatment before CPAP therapy or surgery.

Before you try mouth taping, you should speak with your dentist about this treatment method. Your dentist can recommend taping brands that are meant for skin so that you can avoid tape/adhesives that could produce allergic reactions or hurt your skin. To improve the effectiveness of the mouth tape, you may need to sleep with a nasal strip to open up nasal passages; using a humidifier and elevating your head with a pillow can also prevent mouth breathing.

Reach out to your family dentist today for more details.