Everything from smoking to cancer treatment can cause dry mouth, but one of the most common causes of the uncomfortable condition is medication.

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Q: I take an anti-anxiety medication that has a side effect of dry mouth. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this annoying problem?

Apart from being annoying, dry mouth can cause bad breath, and, in some extreme cases, tooth decay. But there are various steps you can take to avoid it.

Dr. Kourosh Maddahi, a Beverly Hills-based dentist, says there are three main aspects of dry mouth to pay attention to. First, look at the medications that you’re using and take note of its side effects. Second, avoid drying products. And last, stimulate saliva flow.

To keep your mouth from drying, avoid:

- Alcohol-based mouthwashes and other oral products
- Caffeinated beverages
- Acidic, sugary foods
- Tobacco products

To stimulate saliva flow:

- Use mouthwashes designed to treat dry mouth
- Enjoy sugar-free gums or candies
- Sip water throughout the day
- Sleep with a humidifier
- Use products that contain xtlitol

If your chronic dry mouth continues, see your physician as soon as possible, as it may be a sign of a more serious condition. As always, consult your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle.