It sounds like an amazing-but-true home cure for snoring: mouth taping. Frankly, what person whose partner snores hasn’t considered just taping their mouth shut to keep them quiet? So when media outlets started reporting that this might work, you can bet there are plenty of people who want to try it.
But don’t be so quick to jump on this so-called home remedy for snoring. Not only is it unlikely to work for you, but we’ve got a better approach.
Although media has been reporting this approach as effective, the truth is that there is little to no research supporting the use of this approach. The science behind the headlines is a permeable barrier that goes over the mouth, actually more similar to a bandage than a piece of tape. Supposedly, this keeps cold air from entering the mouth and hitting the tissue at the soft palate, which, supposedly, makes it vibrate and contract.
Claims that this works are based on a supposed pilot study whose data is referenced nowhere. If this study exists, it’s probably smaller than the upcoming trial which will involve 30 women using the device for one night.
It’s Barely Effective
There is one published study reporting results from this technique, but they are truly underwhelming. In this study, 30 patients used the device for one night. All 30 had mild sleep apnea, an average of 12.0 apneas an hour. With the treatment, they experienced only 7.8 apneas an hour. That’s a statistically significant decline, but it’s still mild sleep apnea and unlikely any true therapeutic benefit.
With respect to snoring, the results are just as weak. The average snoring volume without treatment was 49 decibels. With treatment, it was 41 decibels. For those not familiar with the decibel scale, that’s like replacing a floor fan with a running refrigerator. A little bit of an improvement, but not much.
It’s Potentially Disruptive
And for the minimal potential improvement, there are many drawbacks to mouth taping. First, it’s disruptive, even dangerous to snorers. Many people are forced to breathe through their mouth by obstructions in their nasal passages. Preventing them from breathing through their mouth doesn’t remove those obstructions. Instead, it makes it hard for someone to breathe at all, potentially preventing them from sleeping.
If you are taping a person’s mouth shut, you’re more likely to cause skin irritation and breakouts. It’s hard to develop something that can be held tightly against the skin for 8 hours without leading to irritation. This is actually one of the many complaints people have about CPAP, and why many people abandon it in favor of more comfortable options.
There’s Already a Better Solution
The most important reason not to try mouth taping is that we already have a comfortable, convenient, and effective snoring treatment available. An oral appliance can be made to comfortably hold your jaw in a position that alleviates narrowing of the airway that causes snoring.