Tooth decay is tooth decay whether it is in children or adults. The real difference between the two has to do with where the decay occurs. In children most decay starts in grooves of teeth. That’s why dentists and dental hygienists recommend dental sealants.
For adults decay occurs in and around dental restorations. Many people after having a full coverage restoration (a.k.a. crown or cap) think that this particular tooth can no longer decay. I wish this was true but it isn’t. What is true is that finding the decay around a crown is much more difficult because now it is not as visible on x-ray.
Adult decay also occurs on smooth surfaces and can be the result of a sugar-in-solution habit. People who sip sugar drinks or sugar-brewed iced teas can rapidly destroy teeth in just a few months.
Another reason for adult decay today has to do with the medications people take that dry out their mouths. Saliva acts as a buffer to the acids produced by plaque. Also saliva washes bacteria away from teeth during mastication.