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Mouth VS. Nasal Breathing: How Mouth Tape Enhances Oxygen Saturation & Nitric Oxide Delivery

Mouth tape is a trending biohacking tool designed to promote optimal nasal breathing during sleep. Essentially, this specialized tape is placed over the lips, ensuring individuals breathe through their noses throughout the night. Breathing through the nose, whether during the day or at night, naturally humidifies, warms, and filters the air. Additionally, research indicates that not filtering, humidifying, or warming the inhaled air can decrease lung function.

Mouth VS. Nasal Breathing: Oxygen Saturation

During the day, the resistance encountered by air traveling through our upper respiratory tract—comprising the nose, mouth, throat, and voice box—is similar for both nasal and mouth breathing. However, at night, nasal breathing faces less resistance. This is because mouth breathing narrows the upper airway, specifically due to the backward movement of the soft palate and the downward shift of the mandible. This positional change makes it harder for air to pass and affects the muscles that ensure the airway remains open. Consequently, mouth breathing might not necessarily result in hypoxia but can contribute to it.

Research has found that habitual mouth breathing can lead to functional brain problems stemming from lower oxygen saturation levels in the brain. Additionally, mouth breathing dries out the mouth, diminishing saliva's crucial role in neutralizing acids, aiding digestion, and cleaning food particles. This can escalate dental issues, from cavities to gum diseases, and even influence teeth positioning and facial bone development.

Mouth VS. Nasal Breathing: Blood Flow & Nitric Oxide

One more significant aspect of nasal breathing revolves around nitric oxide (NO). Our paranasal sinuses continuously produce NO, which accumulates between breaths. Nasal breathing ensures this nitric oxide is taken into our lungs. As a potent vasodilator, NO enhances blood flow, optimizing oxygen delivery to our cells. This benefit underscores why deep breathing practices are so revered.

Mouth Tape Considerations

To foster nasal breathing during sleep, many are turning to mouth tape. While earlier users resorted to conventional medical tapes, the market now boasts specialized tapes tailored for the purpose. These tapes are often hypoallergenic, may have emergency vents, and offer a gentle reminder to keep the mouth closed during sleep. When selecting a tape, ensure it’s hypoallergenic, gentle on removal, moisture-resistant, and provides a degree of skin breathability. For those interested, my preferred choice is available on my amazon storefront.


Jung, J. Y., & Kang, C. K. (2021). Investigation on the Effect of Oral Breathing on Cognitive Activity Using Functional Brain Imaging. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 9(6), 645.

Akhavan Niaki E, Chalipa J, Taghipoor E. Evaluation of Oxygen Saturation by Pulse-Oximetry in Mouth Breathing Patients. Acta Med Iran. 1;48(1):9-11.

Lee Y-C, Lu C-T, Cheng W-N, Li H-Y. The Impact of Mouth-Taping in Mouth-Breathers with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Preliminary Study. Healthcare. 2022; 10(9):1755.


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