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Here’s a surprising new solution: Chew some sugar-free gum. Sinus infections occur when our nasal passages become swollen, making it more difficult for mucus to drain and flush away bacteria. And here’s why chewing a stick of sugar-free gum can help: Studies show a sweetener in sugar-free gum – called xylitol – blocks the bacteria that causes sinus infections. So it’s less likely to attach to our throat tissues, and travel into our sinus passages.