Bright Futures Oral Health Pocket Guide

Adolescence • 11 – 21 Years

image of adolescent teens

Health professionals should select the information in this section that is most appropriate, using clinical judgment to decide what is timely and relevant for the adolescent and family.

Family Preparation

To help prepare families for oral health supervision visits, health professionals can provide adolescents with a list of topics to discuss at the next visit. Topics may include the following:

Interview Questions

Following are examples of questions that health professionals may use. In addition to asking these or other interview questions, discuss any issues or concerns the family has. Ask the adolescent questions directly.

Risk Assessment

Use the risk assessment tables and caries risk assessment tools to assess the adolescent's risk factors for oral health issues.


Visually inspect the lips, tongue, teeth, gums, inside of the cheeks, and roof of the mouth.


The adolescent should be seen according to a schedule recommended by the dentist, based on the adolescent's individual needs and risk for developing oral disease.

Anticipatory Guidance

Discuss with Adolescent, or with Adolescent and Parents:

Oral Health Care

Oral Hygiene


Injury Prevention

Substance Use