What is mouth taping? Viral TikTok trend explained - as experts warn it has ‘serious health risks’

The #mouthtaping tag has more than 23 million views on TikTok

Social media users are being warned a new viral trend has “serious health risks”.

The mouth taping trend has gone viral on TikTok in recent weeks.

But experts have warned against participating in it as it poses risks to your health.

Here is all you need to know:

What is mouth taping?

The tag #mouthtaping has racked up over 23 million views on TikTok so far.

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Users are taping their mouths shut overnight, so that you will simply breathe through your nose.

In the videos on TikTok, people film themselves using a small amount of tape and applying it to the middle of their lips.

One video, which has more than 4.2m views, shows the user explaining her sleeping beauty routine - including using mouth taping.

The user shows her followers the type of tape and the size and claims it has “completely transformed” her sleep since starting to use it.

But does mouth taping pose health risks?

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Nose breathing does have some recognised health benefits.

However James Wilson, AKA The Sleep Geek, has warned that mouth taping could actually pose a “serious” health risk.

Talking to Newsweek, he said: “Unfortunately mouth taping is an extreme way of encouraging nose-breathing that has some serious health risk.”

He explained that among the risks of mouth taping are sleep apnea, narrow nostrils or something blocking your nasal airways.

Mr Wilson continued: “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 recomends instead trying out a few breathing exercises to help encourage nose-breathing naturally.

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“Firstly, sit in a chair and relax your shoulders. Place your left hand on your left knee, take your right thumb, put over your right nostril and breathe in through your left nostril. Put your right ring finger over your left nostril and breathe out through your right nostril,” he said.

A woman with tape over her mouth. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

What are the benefits of nose breathing?

Stuart Sandeman, a breathwork expert and author, explained the benefits of breathing through your nose.

He told Stylist: “When breathing through your nose you optimise the air arriving in your lungs and slow your breathing to a rate where your body and mind perform at its best.

“This is why it’s important to try to breathe through your nose as much as you can. Your mouth should only be used in emergencies, because the gasp you naturally take through your mouth in moments like that rings the alarm bell to your body and mind to engage your muscles and get to safety.

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“However, if you’re breathing through your mouth habitually then you’re ringing those alarm bells in your brain all day, which in turn can affect your energy, mood, sleep, digestion, immune system, face shape and more.”

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media app focused on short form video.

It launched in 2017 and surpassed 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide in October 2020.