Health & Lifestyle

What’s the TRUTH about the mouth taping fad championed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Erling Haaland?

What’s the TRUTH about the mouth taping fad championed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Erling Haaland?

It’s a hack hailed by the likes of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and footballing superstar Erling Haaland

But can something as simple, and bizarre, as ‘mouth taping’ really do wonders for your health?

Well, as with everything in the world of wellness, it’s complicated.

Dozens of studies have suggested that breathing through the nose — which is what taping the mouth at night makes you do — will banish bad breath, stop you snoring and slash the risk of gum disease.

To top it all off, researchers have even found some proof that doing so might boost your exercise performance.

But taping the mouth overnight is undoubtedly dangerous, and it sparked warnings when the craze swept social media earlier this year.

Dozens of studies have suggested that breathing through the nose ¿ which is what taping the mouth at night makes you do ¿ will banish bad breath, stop you snoring and slash the risk of gum disease

Dozens of studies have suggested that breathing through the nose — which is what taping the mouth at night makes you do — will banish bad breath, stop you snoring and slash the risk of gum disease 

Last night, a wellness guru was supposed to showcase his mouth tape ¿ available for kids and adults ¿ on Dragon's Den. Patrick McKeown (pictured) was expected to plug how the technique and breathing exercises helped him fight his asthma symptoms

Last night, a wellness guru was supposed to showcase his mouth tape — available for kids and adults — on Dragon’s Den. Patrick McKeown (pictured) was expected to plug how the technique and breathing exercises helped him fight his asthma symptoms 

Leading experts also argue that there is ‘no reliable evidence’ to say it does anything beneficial whatsoever.

Last night, a wellness guru was supposed to showcase his mouth tape product — available for kids and adults — on Dragon’s Den. Patrick McKeown was expected to plug how the technique and breathing exercises helped him fight his asthma symptoms.

But BBC bosses edited the Irish entrepreneur out of the hour-long programme.

The decision came after the BBC was accused of failing to properly scrutinise wellness brands featured on Dragons’ Den peddling ‘extravagant claims’.

Ear seeds alleged to ‘cure’ ME and a cacao ‘anti-depressant’ are among the products touted in the latest series, but a science group last week wrote to BBC director-general Tim Davie demanding ‘immediate action’.

So, what’s the truth about the mouth taping trend?

Dr Hana Patel, a London-based NHS GP, recommends breathing through the nose at all times, even when exercising, due to the ‘many health benefits’ it brings.

The nose filters the air we breathe, helping to prevent material such as dust, pollen, ash and other hazardous particles from getting deep into the lungs, she explains.

Inhaling through the mouth doesn’t offer this filter, meaning it ploughs straight into the lungs. 

Breathing through the nose is also vital for babies and children, experts say, as excessive mouth breathing can cause their jaw and teeth to develop incorrectly.

‘People don’t acknowledge that how they breathe can have a significant impact on their health levels, of sleep quality, anxiety, respiratory disorders, like asthma, athletic performance, and more,’ James Nestor, a San Francisco-based science journalist and author of ‘Breath: the new science of a lost art’, told MailOnline.

He claims his previous mouth breathing habit was behind his recurrent respiratory infections, which he was eventually able to shake after a doctor told him to breathe through his nose.

‘I thought she was insane. I fixed it. And I have not had one of those issues since. That was more than 10 years ago.’

The bestselling author, who is sharing his findings in an BBC Maestro online course, argues the vast majority of breaths should be taken through your nose in a slow-paced rhythm, not your mouth, unless you are sick.

‘We should breathe the way we have naturally evolved to breathe,’ Mr Nestor said.

‘There is nothing really fancy about it, just look at a healthy infant breathing into its belly and through the nose in a slow-paced rhythm.’

About 60 per cent of the population breathes through their mouths while they sleep, according to Mr Nestor.

Here Dragon's Den star Peter Jones is shown wearing the Myotape, which was cut from last night's episode

Here Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones is shown wearing the Myotape, which was cut from last night’s episode

'I know this might look crazy, but there's method to my madness!' Tess Daly revealed last year that her unusual tip for a good night's sleep is taping her mouth shut

‘I know this might look crazy, but there’s method to my madness!’ Tess Daly revealed last year that her unusual tip for a good night’s sleep is taping her mouth shut

Mouth taping is hailed by the likes of actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who took to Instagram in November 2022 to say that it's the 'best wellness tool' she had recently come across

Mouth taping is hailed by the likes of actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who took to Instagram in November 2022 to say that it's the 'best wellness tool' she had recently come across

Mouth taping is hailed by the likes of actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who took to Instagram in November 2022 to say that it’s the ‘best wellness tool’ she had recently come across

Doing so can dry out the gums and tissue that line the mouth.  

It can also exacerbate snoring, as air hits the back of the throat directly and causes vibrations, rather than passing over the soft palate, which happens when breathing through the nose, according to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association.

As such, some experts claim mouth taping is the solution.

It involves placing a piece of tape over their closed mouth — over both the upper and lower lip — before sleep, so a person can’t easily open their mouth. The logic is that it prompts people to breathe through their nose while sleeping. 

Hypoallergenic, surgical and athletic tape are often use for mouth taping but some specific products, such as that touted by Mr McKeown, also exist. 

However, taping the mouth can disrupt sleep by causing irritation, anxiety and difficulty breathing through the nose, warns the Sleep Foundation.

Experts also say that it could be dangerous and even life-threatening because a child with their mouth taped shut could choke on their vomit and die.

Professor Edzard Ernst, a leading expert in alternative medicines, formerly of Exeter University, said: ‘I’m not aware of any reliable evidence to suggest that mouth-taping improves sleep, stops snoring, cures sleep apnoea, or helps with any other problem.’

However, for those who choose to tape their mouth, Mr Nestor advises using surgical tape across the centre of the lips, making sure to not seal the whole mouth. The tape should come off easily and train the mouth to shut while you sleep, he says.

Dr Raj Dasgupta, a sleep specialist at the University of Southern California, explains that mouth taping can be ‘very dangerous’ if you have obstructive sleep apnoea, which interrupts sufferer’s breathing while sleeping.

Dr Patel recommends people speak to their GP if they are concerned about mouth breathing at night as they can suggest an appropriate treatment.

Consistently breathing through the nose, rather than the mouth, can trigger a swathe of health benefits, says Mr Nestor. 

Many of us breathe through our mouths and too fast, which can exacerbate stress responses and anxiety, says Mr Nestor.

The latest Dragons' Den instalment was expected to feature mouth taping product MyoTape

The latest Dragons’ Den instalment was expected to feature mouth taping product MyoTape

If you wake up with a dry mouth, find yourself snoring or develop respiratory problems it could be because you're breathing through your mouth while you sleep

If you wake up with a dry mouth, find yourself snoring or develop respiratory problems it could be because you’re breathing through your mouth while you sleep

But by breathing lightly through your nose, you can reduce stress levels by bringing your heart rate down, helping concentration and relaxation, he says. 

The NHS recommends breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth slowly to control panic attacks.

Breathing through the nose can also boost athletic performance, studies show. 

‘Athletic performance will be significantly hindered if you’re breathing too much. Most athletes breathe way too much thinking they’re getting more energy and the opposite is happening,’ Mr Nestor says. 

That’s because breathing slowly through your nose allows you to use more air, say experts.  

‘The vast majority of that air you breathe, you don’t use, it never makes it to the areas in the lungs, that can participate in gas exchange. So you’re just bringing it into your throat into your mouth, into the bronchi and exhaling without ever using it,’ Mr Nestor said. 

Therefore, by breathing slower you are able to use more air.

A 2018 study tested the theory on 10 runners. They ran on a treadmill once breathing through their nose and a second time breathing through their mouth. 

During each running session researchers measured respiratory markers like oxygen consumption, breathing rate and carbon dioxide production.

They found that, although the runners consumed the same amount of oxygen during both mouth and nose breathing exercises, the number of breaths they took a minute was lower when they inhaled through their nose.  

That means it took them less work to get the same amount of oxygen breathing through their nose.


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