Which CPAP Masks are Best for Mouth Breathers?
This post was originally posted on July 26, 2022 and updated on August 28, 2023.
Over the last few years, CPAP manufacturers have released many new types of masks. Choice is good for users but making the proper mask decision directly impacts compliance. The more comfortable and effective the mask, the higher use rate amongst CPAP patients. CPAP masks come in various models and styles so that each individual sleep apnea patient can decide which type works best for them as one mask which works well for one might be completely wrong for another. One major consideration in choosing a mask is whether or not the wearers are “mouth breathers.”
Why Do CPAP Users Often Have The Problem Of Mouth Breathing?
The device providing continuous airway pressure works optimally when we breathe through the nose. Nasal breathing also reduces evaporation and does not usually result in a dry mouth. The CPAP user often struggles to breathe through the nose, and starts mouth breathing as an alternative way to inhale more air. The continuous mouth breathing hampers our natural airway anatomy and causes an elongated face and also results in dry mouth. The more this happens, the more difficult it is to breathe through the nose.
Recommended Masks for Mouth Breathers
Generally, when recommending masks for those who breath through their mouth while sleeping (including people who have stuffy noses from colds), a full face mask is typically recommended. A full face mask offers several advantages to mouth breathers including:
- Useful for CPAP users with pressure above 17cm H2
- Decreased nasal passage strain especially during cold season
- A good choice for people who sleep on their side
- Excellent for those whose jaw drops during sleep
Mouth breathers also enjoy the benefit of less irritation to their nasal cavities, because a full face CPAP mask sends the air into both the mouth and nose. Also, CPAP users with a deviated septum or other nasal issues will benefit significantly by employing a full face mask.
If you’re using a nasal or nasal pillow mask and predominantly breathe through your mouth during sleep, it may feel as though CPAP therapy isn’t working as expected.1 When most of your breathing is done by mouth and you’re wearing a nasal mask, a reduced amount of therapeutic, pressurized air is entering your breathing passages. In fact, it flows air flows in through your nose and much is released by out through the mouth. This, in effect, is preventing you for optimizing your therapy and not providing you with its full benefit. Switching to a full face mask might provide an immediate improvement to your CPAP therapy.
Why Do Mouth Breathers Need Specific Masks?
Full-face masks are recommended for mouth breathers because the warm humid air from the humidified CPAP machine helps to keep the mouth from drying. Dry mouth can prove to be a serious issue because it can result in tooth and gum problems, and increase plaque.
Types of Full Face CPAP Masks for Mouth Breathers
The CPAP Shop carries an extensive line of full face CPAP masks for mouth breathers from top manufactures. Some of the best and most recommended choices include:
- RollFit XT cushion with adaptable seal for nasal bridge comfort
- VentiCool technology for adjustable and breathable headgear
- Unique stability bar keeps seal secured and minimizes leaks
The Fisher & Paykel Vitera Full Face CPAP Mask with headgear allows for various types of sleeping positions due to the forehead support. It adapts to every patient to provide excellent therapy night after night. This mask also ensures a tight seal due to the RollFit XT cushion. It gently rolls over the bridge of the nose, moving with a user as they chance sleeping positions.
Additionally, this mask includes breathable VentiCool Headgear to provide comfortable, cool sleep. The VentiCool technology uses ventilated, airy material and releases any perspiration, resulting in a cooler environment.
The Vitera also incorporates VisiBlue color indicators to help users easily assemble and disassemble this mask. This results in users taking apart their mask more often to properly clean and maintain it for better performance and extended life.
- UltraSoft Memory Foam Cushion
- 30-Day Disposable Cushion Design
- Magnetic Headgear Clips
The ResMed AirTouch F20 Full Face CPAP Mask is among the softest masks ever made due to its UltraSoft memory foam cushion. This cushion contours and adapts to every user's unique facial shape and size to provide an intact seal that delivers effective treatment all night. This cushion delivers 30 days of a secure seal even at higher therapy pressures.
The frame of the AirTouch F20 is flexible, compact and lightweight. The innovative design of this frame allows patients to switch between a foam and silicone cushion. Wearing this full-face CPAP mask reduces resulting skin irritations and facial markings due to the minimal contact points with the face.
The AirTouch F20 features QuietAir technology that reduces noise coming from the mask. This will aid in a better sleeping environment for both the CPAP user and their bed partner.
- One size fits all design
- Designed to prevent top-of-the-nose soreness, irritation and red marks
- QuietAir™ elbow creates a more peaceful bedroom
The ResMed AirFit F30 Full Face CPAP mask is the smallest full face CPAP mask. Unlike most traditional face masks, this one is compact to reduce the bulk and feeling of claustrophobia.This mask sits lower on the face, and is suitable for people who wear glasses before falling asleep and has very minimal contact with the face.
This full-face CPAP mask delivers an open field of vision and can prove to be an ideal choice for you. It includes a one size fits all headgear to reduce users having to make adjustments. There are magnetic clips and Velcro straps which help users find their unique fit.
The AirFit F30 has QuietAir technology that delivers a silent operation. This technology disperses the air coming from the mask through the QuietAir elbow. This provides a peaceful sleeping environment every night.
- Soft silicone frame for comfortable fit
- Magnetic clips for easy removal
- Leaves no red marks on the bridge of your nose
The Philips Respironics DreamWear Full Face CPAP Mask provides a cushion design that is similar to the Amara View. This DreamWear CPAP mask is beneficial for people who sleep on their side and for people who tend to breathe through the mouth becuase of its minimal design that moves with the user. The under-the-nose design makes very minimal contact on the face to reduce ay red marks or irritation.
The hose attachment is found at the top, which allows sleepers to move comfortably during sleep. Patients will not have to fuss with tubing while they are sleeping. The cushion covers the mouth as well as nostrils allowing the airflow to circulate all around the mask while avoiding mask leakage. Additionally, the DreamWear mask also has an open field of vision and has less contact with the face.
- Enhanced dual-wall Spring Air™ cushion for superior comfort
- Flex-wing forehead support for easy adjustments and stability
- SoftEdge™ headgear allows more comfortable sleep in any position
The ResMed Quattro Air Full Face CPAP mask is among the lightest full face CPAP masks to be available on the market. The Quattro Air was designed to surpass its predecessors' success, and features a lighter, sleeker, and and more simple to use design. It simplifies CPAP therapy and focuses on providing a comfortable yet effective therapy.
The cushion of the Quattro Air mask is designed to deliver a tight seal.The SpringAir cushion is dual-walled to provide a comfortable seal and padding around the most sensitive area of the user's face. This cushion style reduces red marks and sores on the face.
The headgear features a rolled edge design to reduce contact to the face. There are four points of adjustments to help users find their best and most customized fit. This mask includes flex wings rather than a stability bar that are soft and comfortable, but very sturdy and secure.
- Easy to wear, see and sleep
- Auto-adjusts to optimize an effective, comfortable seal
- Incorporates Advanced Air Diffuser for minimal noise and draft
The Fisher & Paykel Simplus Full Face CPAP Mask can prove one of the best options available for mouth breathers, and is notable for its tight seal. The RollFit cushion is auto-adjusting as the seal rolls back and forth under a user's nose as they sleep to minimize any pressure or irritation. The Fisher & Paykel Mask has integrated stability panels, which are responsible for keeping the mask in one place, even for restless sleepers.
The Simplus includes ErgoFoam headgear that provide both a sturdy and supportive base for therapy. Combined with the low-profile frame, this mask is sturdy and secure, all while providing a clear line of sight for users to do other activities before falling asleep.
- High-tech Spring Air cushion distributes pressure evenly
- Has fewer points of contact with the face for reduced irritation
- No forehead support required
The ResMed Mirage Quattro FX full face CPAP mask has SpringAir Cushions that evenly distribute the air. The mask cushion of the ResMed Quattro FX mask covers the mouth and nose completely and fastens at the chin to to assist in keeping the mouth closed during sleep. A built-in valve and vents contribute to this well designed full face mask’s effectiveness.
The SpringAir frame also provides a contoured fit that adapts to all users. Without a stability bar, this mask still stays in place because of the secure headgear and frame, without as much contact on the face. The minimized design also results in less irritation and soreness around the face.
- Ensures an effective seal regardless of facial type
- Contoured chin region for better support
- Soft nasal bridge delivers greater comfort
The full-face mask comes with magnetic clips along with adjustable headgear. This helps user tailor their fit to their liking for comfortable, effective therapy. The minimal design is lightweight and sleek, reducing the feeling of bulkiness.
The ResMed F20 mask cushion is available on the market in three different sizes: medium, large and small. The memory foam cushion of the AirFit F20 Full Face Mask delivers comfort as compared to the hard silicone, besides providing a tighter seal. The cushion shape of the AirFit F20 Full Face mask covers the nose and mouth, which makes it the ideal mask for mouth breathers. Also, the Full Face CPAP mask delivers CPAP therapy without any leakage in the air pressure, due to the implementation of the Infinity Seal Technology.
CPAP Machine for Mouth Breathers
Along with a full-face mask, mouth breathers may also want to consider selecting a CPAP machine with heated humidification. The flow of warm, moist air prevents mouth dryness. People who breathe through their mouths at night should start their therapy with heated humidification to ensure comfort and compliance.
The ResMed AirSense™ 10 CPAP Machine with Heated Humidifier has an integrated humidifier so mouth breathers can sleep peacefully and wake up without dryness or soreness throat. The built-in humidifier makes this machine travel-friendly as well, so you can sleep comfortably no matter where you are.
The CPAP Shop is committed to enhancing the lives of people with sleep apnea through high quality therapeutic products from the most trusted names in the industry. If you have questions about CPAP masks or machines or any of our line of accessories, please call (866) 414-9700, or you can email us anytime.
Bachour A, Maasita P. Mouth breathing compromises adherence to nasal continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Chest. 2004 Oct;126(4):1258-54.