The hashtag #mouthtaping has 24 million views across the platform and sees users demonstrating how they are taping their lips closed at night in a bid to promote nasal breathing during their sleep.
In one video, a TikTok user claims that the so-called sleep hack has helped her sleep better and that breathing through your nose, as opposed to your mouth, can help prevent bad breath and gum disease.
Meanwhile, one viral video shared last year by health coach Cory Rodriguez made similar claims, and the clip acquired more than 5 million views.
“The goal is to breathe through your nose while you’re asleep versus your mouth,’ he explained in the clip. He added that he tapes his mouth every night, claiming that it has given him better oral hygiene and reduced snoring and a dry mouth.
However, there is little scientific research on the benefits of mouth taping and experts have been quick to dismiss the claims made on TikTok.
The Sleep Foundation has found that, anecdotally, side effects of mouth taping may include irritation on or around the lip from the tape, and disrupted sleep due to difficulty breathing through the nose.
Meanwhile, sleep expert James Wilson, who is known as “The Sleep Geek”, 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 toldNewsweek.
The risks could be particularly high for those with sleep apnea, which is a condition when 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, and stroke, particularly if applied and you are a sleep apnea sufferer,” he said.