(HealthDay News) -- Dry mouth is a common annoyance. But when it's chronic, it can indicate a serious health problem.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggests how to combat an occasional case of dry mouth:

  • Keep water or a sugar-free beverage on hand and drink regularly.
  • Avoid beverages that include caffeine, which can be drying.
  • Boost saliva output with sugar-free gum or hard candy.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using tobacco.
  • If dry mouth appears related to a medication, speak to your doctor about adjusting the dose or changing to a different drug.
  • Run a humidifier at night.