The aim of this study was to investigate the bactericidal effect of a dentin primer incorporating the antibacterial monomer 12-methacryloyloxydodecylpyridinium bromide (MDPB) against bacteria in human dentinal carious lesions. To evaluate the antibacterial activity of MDPB against anaerobes, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) against obligate anaerobes and facultative anaerobic strains of lactobacilli were determined. Bacteria were recovered from carious dentin samples obtained from the teeth of patients, and the bactericidal activities of the experimental primer containing 5% MDPB and three commercially available primers were compared by counting the number of viable cells after contact with diluted solutions of each primer for 30 s. MDPB showed strong antibacterial activity against anaerobes, the MIC and MBC values ranging from 3.9 to 31.3 micrograms/ mL-1 and 15.6-125 micrograms/ mL-1, respectively. Experimental primer containing MDPB was the most bactericidal among the materials tested (ANOVA, Fisher's PLSD test, P < 0.05) and was able to kill the bacteria completely even when diluted 40 times, while the three commercial products exhibited little activity at 40 times dilution. These results indicate that incorporation of MDPB into dentin primer could be beneficial for eliminating the residual bacteria in cavities.