I'm a Mouth Breather, Now What?

I’m off to see an orthodontist next week – my nighttime tongue thrusting has ruined my bite. In your experience, could this be used before orthodontic treatment? I have thought that if I correct my bite but keep thrusting, I create problem again. Am just starting cpap but the open mouth during sleep has made the lovely DreamWear nasal mask problematic, and I’m not loving that full-face – only a couple of nights but it wakes me up several times a night and I’m more exhausted than before I started cpap.

Dear Mizann, You are quite correct that your tongue thrust was probably a significant factor in the genesis of your OSA as well as the bad bite. In all fairness, no one has asked me exactly this question before so I am going to have to do an educated guess on it. I think that the intraoral mouth shield on the TAP-PAP CS would stop the mouth leakage from the CPAP, but I also think the uncontrolled tongue thrusting would probably rub the tongue red and sore and it would be uncomfortable. I think that you would need to get the tongue thrust under control first, either by being retrained by a myofunctional therapist or by your orthodontist by an intraoral habit appliance. With the tongue thrust under control, then I think the intraoral mouth shield would probably work and solve your problem. a.b.luisi, d.m.d.

Awesome, now I have something else to ask ortho about tomorrow – “intraoral habit appliance.” Have been working with excellent myofascial therapist and some improvement but when I’m asleep all bets are off. They say daytime training can eventually transfer, but. . .this sounds like a good idea. Thanks so much!! Where is your practice if you don’t mind saying?

Mizann, Good luck to you! You sound like you are on the right track I would be willing to tell you my practice location, but I am not clear whether or not that would violate forum rules. The old predecessor forum, www.apneasupport.org used to have a private messaging function that I used for simllar questions. but I don’t think that they have that here, so the most prudent thing is not to do it. a.b.luisi,d.m.d.

A Chin Strap is what you need- I have been using one ever since I knew there was such a device- it works!

I might have apnea. I wish I had it diagnosed when I had health insurance. I use a transparent rubber snoring clip, it’s inexpensive and can be found on amazon. It stops my snoring but I still sleep with my mouth open. I feel good reading the posts here; perhaps I might have apnea and not ADHD? I remember being 8 and reading encyclopedia volumes from front to back, whereas now (i am 36) my attention is not good, and is far worse after a night of inadequate sleep. Some sleep advice: earthing/grounding everyday and taking relaxing baths with Himalayan salt has helped immensely.

Has anyone had success using the no-pillow method, with a shirt wrapped up and placed under your necks base, acting as your pillow? This is touted online (possibly by people with undiagnosed apnea) as a way to prevent mouth breathing.

I think mouth breathing also is causing my inexplicable cavity issues, drying my teeth, bacteria, etc… Any thoughts on this? I’m new here and I’m so happy to have found this community! I might post this as a separate question.

Hi Everyone,

I would like to ask your opinion on an idea I had:
What if we could be gently awaken by a device as soon as (or a programmed time after) we start breathing through our mouth when sleeping? Do you think that could eventually help us to condition to keep our mouth closed?
I know there are a lot of serious cases that it’s a matter of physical blockage, but I’m sure that in many cases it would be possible to do so if our body was conditioned to it.
I can’t seep my mouth closed during the night, but I don’t have apnea and I can only fall asleep with my mouth closed (as I always breath through my nose during the day). So I’m thinking that if there is a electronic device that can gently wake me up so I can close my mouth again, could help to change my sleeping habit.
I know what everyone is thinking: It will terrible to be awaken so many times! But I guess after sometime it could get better, and also, this device could let some times pass; it doesn’t have to actually wake you up every time and right after you opened you mouth.

So, what do you guys think?

Thanks in advance for any opinion.

I have moderate obstructive apnea (heavy snorer) and I have high BP and take Atenolol so I don’t get a-fib. I too am a mouth breather when sleeping. It just comes open. I tried CPAP a few years ago, but was never able to use a mask correctly - even they type of nasal doodads they had at the time didn’t work. I always had some type of itch or they irritated my face/nose, so I just stopped using it and got rid of it. About two years ago, I went to see a sleep dentist who was manufacturing a device for your mouth. It has these adjustable struts on it so you could make your bottom jaw move away further from its regular resting point, thereby opening the airway more. Well, this kinda worked (I thought). I was still opening my mouth, but waking up feeling a bit better. Fast forward to about a month ago. My blood pressure was spiking and I was tired as heck. I went to the ER twice with high BP (200/121) and my heart was starting to race when waking at night. I used to get the same racing when I drank alcohol, but I haven’t had alcohol since Christmas eve 2016. They medicated me and it came down (there are a few things between, but for sake of expedience…). The Doc in the ER asked about my apnea and said that symptoms indicate apnea may be the cause… It causes medication to not be effective and a host of other problems. I started looking into it more and decided to see the sleep doctor again. I want to be around awhile as I have a 6yr old son. They set an appointment for a month away. I really didn’t know if I was going to make it a month, so I searched on Craigslist for a CPAP machine and found one at a very reasonable price. I purchased it and it came with hose and nasal pillows (new in package). These were different from the last ones that I had tried, so I tried it. They were comfortable and I went about setting my pressure (I remember fiddling around with my last machine and this one was the same). The first night, I slept for about an hour then awoke when my mouth opened and all the air rushed out. I tried an elastic hair band from my wife’s drawer (in her room) and that kind of worked, but I knew I had to get a regular chin strap. I ordered one from Amazon. The first night I used it, it took some getting used to. It did work, but the pressure would still blow my lips open, but I was tired enough that I must have slept through that. My mouth was as dry as my arm… I had to figure something else out so I experimented with the mask on… I held my mouth shut with my hand and relaxed my tongue muscles and sure enough, my mouth pressurized and blew out my lips. Then I moved my hand back aways so I was pushing directly under my tongue and the air stopped pressurizing my mouth, so I rolled up a “footie” sock into the chin part of the strap and put it on. It took some adjustments, but the CPAP-Strap combination now works and last night was the first night in more than ten years that I got rest. I know this because I felt way different today and I can keep a thought in my head and I haven’t gotten tired at all yet today, despite taking my clonidine for BP, which usually has me nodding my head at work. If this helps anyone, GREAT! I’ll update after more time to let you all know how it’s going…and after my appointment.

@kristof14 Well, talk about hanging in there!! You are persistent and this will save you!! Let us hear how the appointment goes, and hats off to these milestones!

I was just thinking, I wondered if you had tried a full face mask?

Thanks for sharing,


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Yes, I tried about 8 different types. I couldn’t tolerate any of them. As I’m typing, it’s just after 5:00pm and I’m getting ready to leave work. I didn’t even yawn once today… I’m almost giddy. Nice to have good sleep. I hope I can have most nights like this.



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Yes I have obstructive sleep apnea. Just discovered and got my cPAP. The most annoying thing is dealing with the tubing. It pulls my mask off I have a nasal pillow with the tub on top of my head.

Mu husband 1st got a CPAP machine.for severe apnea. I finally slept without his snoring waking me up. Then he heard me snoring and I was diagnosed!!

@pnrichmond - Congratulations on getting treated! Your story is very common. Sometimes one spouse being treated leads to an increase in realizing what sleep apnea looks like – - thus the other spouse getting diagnosed.

Regarding the tubing being on the top of your head, some patients report success with hooking the tubing over the bedpost. Have you tried this? Or positioning it with a pillow to keep it in place might be another fix.

Good luck and thanks for sharing! Most of all, may you have wonderful sleep!

Be well,

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You need a good chin strap to keep your mouth closed


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I’ve tried using a chin strap. The result is that even with my mouth closed, (and whether I’m awake or asleep) the soft palate of the upper back part of my mouth slowly descends, and bubbles appear under my tongue and then in my cheeks. These air bubbles start looking for a way to get out of my mouth. I’ve had my CPAP for approximately seven weeks, and I’m still without one successful night of sleep. I live far away from large cities, so it’s quite a problem consulting a health provider. I do not use a full mouth mask, but other users have told me that it is unsanitary to use full mouth masks. I am very impressed by your forum, particularly about therapies that teach us to breath through our noses during waking hours. In short, I’m in a quandary.

Thank you, @amavera

I can help you with some suggestions. Please email me with your state and city. Email to: MotherT at sleepapnea DOT org.

(I had to spell the email out like that- sorry @amavera - The bots send spam if spelled appropriately! Ugg!!)

Thanks for contacting our community. We are happy to have you here with us :slight_smile:

Sleep well,

is fix ode the on lips for mouth breathers. A plus? Or cud ya choke on. Tube stuff

competition and distance swimmers are also likely to be mouth breathers