Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

Gingivitis and Older Adults: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

By Erin Carll

Elderly Care in Cheswick PA

Problems with the gums and teeth are not all that uncommon among older adults. In fact, problems with these areas increase with age. One type of gum disease that can be especially dangerous for seniors is gingivitis.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and not only occurs because of age, but also as a result of certain things the senior is or is not doing. With this information, your loved one will have a better idea of whether or not they have this disease and how it can be treated.


Poor dental hygiene is a common cause of gingivitis, but is not the only one. If your loved one is guilty of any of the following, they are at a high risk of developing this condition.

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased immunity health
  • Changes in the elder’s hormone levels
  • Certain medications, such as calcium channel blockers and immunosuppressants
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dentures that do not fit properly
  • Serious health conditions, such as arthritis and Parkinson’s disease

If the elder is suffering from a debilitating disease like Parkinson’s disease, properly brushing their teeth may be too difficult for them to do alone. An elderly care provider can be hired to do this task for them, while also helping with anything else that may be too challenging for them to accomplish by themselves.


Some of the most common symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are:

  • Unusually soft
  • Appear to be puffy and swollen
  • Frequently bleeds when trying to floss or brush
  • Extremely tender
  • Transform into a red color instead of a pale pink color


While the dentist can provide treatments to rid the elder’s mouth of gingivitis, there are things that can be done at home to either prevent this disease from developing or cure the disease completely. These lifestyle changes include:

  • Begin rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash to kill all of the bad bacteria
  • Floss at least once a day, especially after a big meal
  • Brush twice a day for at least one minute. If your loved one suffers from arthritis, electronic toothbrushes can make brushing their teeth much easier

With this information, your loved one will be able to keep their mouths, particularly their gums healthy and free of any diseases. Speak with your aging parent’s dentist for more ways on how to prevent gingivitis from occurring. They may also be able to recommend products that can make cleaning their mouth much easier.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring in-home elderly care in Cheswick, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.