Health experts are warning against a viral TikTok trend that involves people taping their mouths closed while they sleep.
Videos under the hashtag #mouthtaping have been viewed more than 24 million times on the platform, with thousands of creators taking part in the trend and citing the health benefits, which are said to include improved oral health and better quality of sleep.
One such video, shared by health coach Cory Rodriguez, garnered more than five million views.
“The goal is to breathe through your nose while you’re asleep versus your mouth,” he says in the video, claiming that taping his mouth every night has given him better oral hygiene, reduced snoring and prevented a dry mouth.
Several commenters said they had tried the trend. “I’ve been doing this now for a couple of months after seeing this and it is life-changing. Best sleep of my life,” one wrote.
“I do this every night, except I tape my whole lips. At first, I thought I’d panic, but no issues. Sleep SO much better, lessened snoring, no dry mouth,” another said.
However, some health experts have now spoken out against the trend, saying any form of obstruction to the airways while we sleep can have dangerous consequences.
The Sleep Foundation said that mouth taping could actually lead to a more disrupted sleep owing to difficulty breathing through the nose, while also causing irritation around the lips because of the tape.
Sleep expert James Wilson, who is known as The Sleep Geek online, said that any benefits of nose breathing are not worth the risks of mouth taping.
“Unfortunately, mouth taping is an extreme way of encouraging nose breathing that has some serious health risks,” he told Newsweek.
He also spoke of the increased risk for those who suffer from sleep apnoea, a condition where your breathing stops and starts during sleep.
“If this is the case, then taping your mouth will make your health worse and could contribute to more serious issues like heart disease, COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and stroke, particularly if applied and you are a sleep apnoea sufferer,” he said.