It’s no secret that I use mouth tape every night!
Using mouth tape forces you to breathe out of your nose instead of your mouth. Makes sense, right? But, does it really matter if you breathe out of your mouth?
The easy answer is, yes!
Not only does mouth breathing reduce the quality of your sleep, but it disrupts the balance of your oral microbiome and makes you more prone to tooth decay. In fact, some dentists consider mouth breathing the number one cause of cavities – even ahead of poor diet and bad dental hygiene.
The simplest way to explain why mouth breathing is bad is to go back to the basics of how the body was designed. The mouth is made for eating, tasting, and talking. Our nose is made for breathing and smelling.
When you breathe out of your mouth, air is forced through the airway at a larger volume than when you breathe through your nose. And when you breathe in the air at such a high volume, your collapsible airway tends to collapse.
Additionally, children who mouth breathe can have numerous health issues including abnormal facial growth and development, misaligned teeth, and poor sleep habits that can cause exhaustion and poor mental processing skills. (source)
In fact, the symptoms of mouth breathing in children and teens are identical to the symptoms of ADHD (source). Some studies suggest that over half of children diagnosed and treated for ADHD might actually be sleeping with their mouths open (and spending most of their days that way) (source).
Adults who mouth breathe are more likely to snore and often struggle with sleep disruptions, including sleep apnea. They’re probably the ones drooling while sleeping, too!
Now that you know some of the dangers of mouth breathing, let’s take a look at some of the BENEFITS you can expect from using mouth tape. When your body is trained to breathe through your nose, the results are astounding.
Adults and children who mouth breathe are deprived of valuable nitric oxide, which your body produces in the sinuses. The body produces 25% of it’s nitric oxide from nose breathing, so mouth breathing obviously slashes the amount that your body can access (source).
But, what’re the benefits of nitric oxide?
Many mouth breathers suffer from sleep apnea or some other form of disordered sleep breathing. When you have disordered sleep breathing, teeth grinding is the body’s natural reflex to force air into your airways. It’s a life-saving reaction, to be sure. The problem is that it also causes lots of damage to the teeth. Teeth grinding, medically known as bruxism, can lead to decay, premature aging that causes yellowing, and gum recession.
Many people don’t realize they have a dry mouth. But waking up with a sticky feeling that has you immediately grabbing for water, or having saliva that is thick and ropy throughout the day, are signs that your mouth is drier than it should be. And a dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable – it’s harmful to the oral microbiome and can negatively impact oral and dental health.
A dry mouth promotes cavities because the teeth are not being bathed in saliva, which contain certain nutrients that are critical to the remineralization process. Dry mouth also lowers the pH of the mouth into the acidic zone, which allows bacteria to flourish and thus also promotes cavities.
If you can’t keep mouth tape on all night, there’s a chance you have a form of sleep apnea or the less severe UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome). These conditions are serious and impact many areas of health. I recommend you see a dentist that will assess your airway! You can find an Airway Dentist in your area here.
I want to also point out that there are no contraindications for mouth taping. Children and pregnant women can mouth tape safely without fear.
If you’re ready to start mouth taping, you can use a budget friendly option such as Micropore tape. It’s more like a standard medical or surgical tape that comes in a dispenser for easy use!
Mouth taping isn’t the only way I support my oral microbiome, though! Here is the rest of my oral care routine with an emphasis on the oral microbiome and remineralization (so you can heal your own cavities) all in one place.
Have you tried mouth taping? How does your current oral care routine support your oral microbiome?