The prevalence of dental caries in permanent teeth is approximately 50% in 12- to 15-year-olds and 78% in 17-year-olds. The pit and fissure surfaces of the molars are the most common site of caries.
The dynamic caries balance continues throughout adolescence, and the same factors that influence caries risk in children still exist in adolescence. Health care providers should be mindful of the following risk factors
Inadequate access to fluoride (especially topical fluoride)
Poor oral hygiene
Frequent access to sugars (ie, snacking or drinking) and acids
(eg, soda and sour candy)
Previous caries experience
Reduced salivary flow
Special health care needs
Infrequent professional dental care
Risk factors that may first be noted in the adolescent include eating disorders (see Chapter 12: Systemic Diseases) and orthodontic appliances that make performing oral hygiene more difficult.