Mouth breathing causes snoring. For many married couples, it can be a recurring argument.
Snoring can drive your partner crazy and mean endless sleepless nights unless they decide to move to the spare bedroom. But a small sticky strip can change all that, according to a small group of devotees. Dr. Michael Friedman, medical director of Chicago ENT, discusses the pros and cons of this technique.
Keep reading to learn more about snoring, mouth taping, and tried and proven treatments that can fix snoring.
Snoring is the sound you produce when your breathing is blocked while asleep. It happens when structures in your throat vibrate, causing the noise.
Loud snoring affects your partner and can also be a sign of a serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. If your partner notices you snore, the most likely reason is you breathe through your mouth.
Mouth breathing can be a result of various issues. The most common reasons are:
- Stuffy nose from allergies
- Deviated septum
- Enlarged tonsils
- Weak jaw muscles
- Excess weight on your chin that pulls your mouth
These problems worsen when you lie down, including when you’re sleeping. When you can’t breathe easily through the nose, your body starts breathing through the mouth instead.
Addressing the cause of your mouth breathing can stop or significantly reduce snoring.
Mouth taping is what it sounds like. Mouth taping uses adhesive to tape your mouth shut before sleeping.
Using the tape promotes breathing through your nose all night long. But the tape used for mouth tape isn’t the ordinary store-bought tape that you’d use to wrap presents or around your house.
Brands like Somnifix have developed unique adhesive strips designed explicitly for mouth taping. These strips are hypoallergenic, easy to remove, and sit perfectly on your lips so they won’t come off in the middle of the night.
Each strip has a vent for your mouth. Even if you suffer from congestion while sleeping, you’ll still find you can sleep and breathe easily wearing mouth tape.
Mouth taping is not a new phenomenon. Although it’s only starting to gain traction and notoriety now, it dates back to the 1800s. Author George Catlin noticed Native American mothers would close their sleeping babies’ mouths to encourage nose breathing. Dr. Friedman warns that mouth taping is only safe if your nasal airway is not obstructed.
Dr. Friedman explains that most people that mouth breathe do so because the nasal airway is obstructed. Only a thorough nasal examination can determine the cause of mouth breathing.
Nighttime mouth breathing is a sign that you’re not breathing correctly. It can cause the following issues:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Trouble concentrating
- Daytime sleepiness
The goal of mouth taping is to retrain your body to breathe through the nose and alleviate the above symptoms. Other possible benefits of nose breathing with the aid of mouth tape include:
Studies show that nasal breathing can help the nose release nitric acid, which in addition to other benefits, can help you enjoy deeper, better sleep.
While you may be sound asleep, your partner may lie red-eyed and resentful because of your snoring. Nighttime mouth taping offers a new way to tackle snoring.
It forces you to breathe through the nose, helping you snore less and get a better night’s sleep. Addressing your snoring problem can improve your relationship by allowing your partner to rest.
When you both get a good night’s sleep that doesn’t require earplugs, you’ll likely notice a considerable difference in the quality of your relationship.
Believers across the globe are swearing by this snoring remedy. However, many doctors aren’t too keen on using mouth tape. They cite risks that the little-studied practice presents to patients trying it.
Dr. Friedman also points out that, “having a tape over your mouth could be detrimental if you have a condition like acid reflux.” Mouth taping may not be the best solution for these patients for snoring.
Even Dr. Steven Park, a staunch advocate of mouth taping, admits that the practice may only benefit people with mild apnea. He suspects it won’t be of much help to patients with severe sleep apnea.
As intriguing as mouth taping is, it is not meant to be a miracle snoring treatment. What works for one patient is not guaranteed to work for all, so discuss your options with your ENT specialist at Chicago ENT if you’re thinking about trying mouth taping.
A long list of sleep apnea treatment options can correct snoring, including:
2. CPAP Machine
Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is a machine that keeps your airway open during sleep, stopping snoring. CPAP machines achieve this by creating constant positive air pressure that prevents your muscles from collapsing.
That way, the soft tissues of your mouth, throat, and neck don’t partially obstruct your airway, causing snoring.
Bi-level positive airway pressure or BiPAP are devices similar to CPAP machines but use two different air pressures for exhaling and inhaling. If you do not tolerate CPAP machines well, your ENT specialist may recommend a BiPAP machine.
BiPAP works by delivering pressurized air into your upper airway. The airflow keeps your airway free from obstruction, preventing snoring.
4. Inspire Therapy
Inspire is a tiny device implanted during a same-day procedure. You click the remote and turn Inspire on when you’re about to sleep.
Inspire ensures your airway remains open as you sleep, enabling you to breathe normally throughout the night.
5. Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral Appliance Therapy is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as a first-line treatment option for mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea or for those who are unable to tolerate it or who cannot wear CPAP.
Only a sleep specialist can get to the bottom of what’s causing your snoring. The expert team at Chicago ENT can accurately diagnose your condition and provide a safe, effective treatment to alleviate your snoring.
Dr. Friedman suggests a thorough examination of your airway as a first step. He also recommends that if you want to try mouth taping, first tape your mouth shut for one hour while awake to see how comfortable you are.
Are you tired of listening to your partner complain about your constant snoring? Schedule an appointment at Chicago ENT at one of our five convenient locations to start your journey to better sleep!