How a Chinstrap Can Be Used With a CPAP Mask

If you are having problems with your mouth coming open when you try to use your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, you may wonder, "Should I use a chinstrap with my CPAP?" Learn how chinstraps help improve mouth breathing, dry mouth, and leak from CPAP masks. Consider alternatives as well, including lowered pressures, treating nasal congestion, and the use of a full-face mask.

A simple chinstrap may be used with a nasal mask to keep your mouth closed when using CPAP.
Verywell / Brandon Peters

Mouth Breathing Can Improve by Using a Chinstrap

If you use a CPAP machine to treat your sleep apnea, you may have problems with mouth breathing that may need to be corrected with the use of a chinstrap. An extremely dry mouth and throat may be uncomfortable or painful, and chronic dryness may affect the health of your gums and teeth. When air escapes through the mouth, it may also compromise the effectiveness of the therapy, causing sleep apnea to persist.

A chinstrap may be helpful to reduce mouth leak. It is usually a piece of fabric, often fitted with velcro, that can be secured around your lower jaw and the top of your head. It may have a cup at the chin, much like a rugby headgear. Chinstraps are usually fairly inexpensive, often costing around $15 to $20. It keeps your mouth closed and allows you to get the full benefit of your CPAP.

You will likely know if you need a chinstrap based on the feedback of others. If mouth breathing is noticed during your sleep study, it may be applied at that time. Or, if your significant other notices air escaping from your mouth at night, or even snoring, this may suggest a need for a chinstrap. Also, if you wake up with a very dry mouth or painful throat, it may be due to mouth breathing on your CPAP machine.

Some people will use a chinstrap to help keep their CPAP mask on at night if they are removing it while they are partially asleep. This added layer may make it hard to take the mask off while remaining asleep. It is also possible that a chinstrap may stabilize a mask and help it to seal better.

Chinstraps or "snore guards" should never be used alone without CPAP therapy. They are ineffective in resolving snoring and sleep apnea. Moreover, it may be dangerous to prevent mouth breathing without CPAP use if you need it to get adequate airflow.

When You Shouldn't Use a Chinstrap

There are some cases in which you may not want to use a chinstrap. If you have a congested nose, a deviated septum, or if your CPAP pressure is not set properly, you may not be getting enough air delivered through a nasal mask. It is also possible for a high CPAP pressure to blow the mouth open and it may need to be decreased.

Another option beyond using a chinstrap would be the use of a full-face mask that allows breathing to occur through both the nose and mouth. These masks may cause more leak and marks on the face, and you will want to ensure that it is fitted properly to get the optimal benefit.

A Word From Verywell

If you are struggling with mouth breathing on CPAP, get help to resolve this issue. It may be important to speak with your durable medical equipment provider or your board-certified sleep doctor before trying a chinstrap on your own. In addition, as noted, chinstraps or "snore guards" should never be used alone. If you are opening your mouth because you are having difficulty breathing through your nose, the last thing you want to do is hold your mouth closed.

Fortunately, most people are able to resolve mouth breathing after some adjustments, with or without the use of a chinstrap. Seek help as needed to achieve this normal state of breathing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I buy a CPAP chinstrap?

    You can buy a CPAP chinstrap from your local pharmacy or via an online retailer. Most are relatively inexpensive and should cost around $20. When you're deciding on a chinstrap, remember that it should allow for flexibility and comfort; it shouldn't be too tight that it prevents your mouth from opening at all.

  • Can you use a chin strap for snoring?

    It is not recommended to use a chin strap for snoring without a CPAP mask. By itself, a chin strap or snore guard is an ineffective and potentially dangerous way to prevent snoring. Instead, you may be able to naturally prevent snoring through a few lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy weight, sleeping on your back, getting enough sleep (usually 7 to 9 hours), and regularly breathing through your nose have been known to reduce snoring. However, if these methods do not work, you may need to seek further help from a doctor or sleep scientist.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Rowland S, Aiyappan V, Hennessy C, et al. Comparing the efficacy, mask leak, patient adherence, and patient preference of three different CPAP interfaces to treat moderate-severe obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(1):101-108. doi:10.5664/jcsm.6892

  2. Bhat S, et al. The efficacy of a chinstrap in treating sleep disordered breathing and snoringJ Clin Sleep Med 2014;10(8):887-892. doi:10.5664/jcsm.3962

  3. Sleep Foundation. Best CPAP Chinstraps.

  4. American Sleep Association (ASA). How to Stop Snoring.

Additional Reading
  • Kryger MH, et al. “Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine.” Elsevier, 6th edition, 2016.

By Brandon Peters, MD
Brandon Peters, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist.