Your teeth are intended to last a lifetime. They will if you care for them properly. This means brushing and flossing daily, and regular visits to your dentist and hygienist to help avoid gum disease.
Gum disease is an infection of the gum and bone that holds teeth in place. As the disease progresses bone literally dissolves away from the tooth causing the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Once you have had gum disease you will always be susceptible to recurring problems so it is very important that you continue to visit the dentist on a regular basis.
Periodontal disease is often painless and you may not be aware that you have a problem until your gums and the supporting bone are seriously damaged. It may develop slowly or progress quite rapidly. More than half of all people over 18 have at least the early stages of periodontal disease. Even more frightening, after the age of 35, three out of four people are affected.
The good news is that periodontal diseases often can be treated in the early stages with a treatment called scaling and root planing (or deep cleaning). Once gum health is established, it will probably be necessary to have 3-4 month cleaning visits in order to maintain an infection-free state.