Used to help preserve tooth enamel as smoking crack reduces saliva production and may lead to tooth decay. Sugar-free gum containing Xylitol will help keep saliva production up and prevent teeth from decay.
Make sure to purchase gum that comes in foil push-pouches (rather than a paper cover). Foil pouches can be cut easily and will last much longer than paper covered gum which can become wet and easily ruined.
It can be helpful for outreach workers to carry a stash of gum in addition to Safer Smoking Kits, some individuals will take the entire kit for the gum, if staff are concerned this is an occurrence, an easy remedy for wasted supplies is offering a few pieces of gum solo.
Does your agency have a good working relationship with a nearby Dentist who works well with people who use drugs? Forging a relationship with a friendly and understanding dentist or dental clinic can be invaluable for your clients.
Bulk sugar-free gum can be purchased at Costco or online retailers such as Staples.
From Handy Hints (2010) Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League.
Many people with Hep C have problems with dry mouth. It could be cause by, or made worse by certain medications like methadone or anti-depressants. Having plenty of saliva means that there’s lubrication for speech, taste and chewing food. It also helps prevent bacteria, viruses and fungus’s from causing infections in the mouth, as well as preventing tooth decay and gum disease. You can increase the levels of saliva in your mouth by taking frequent sips of water and/or chewing sugarless gum. (p.80)