Ursolic acid is a triterpenoid compound present in many plants. This study examined the antimicrobial activity of ursolic acid against mutans streptococci (MS) isolated from the Korean population. The antimicrobial activity was evaluated by the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and time kill curves of MS. The cytotoxicity of ursolic acid against KB cells was tested using an MTT assay. The MIC90 values of ursolic acid for Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus isolated from the Korean population were 2 microg/ml and 4 microg/ml, respectively. Ursolic acid had a bactericidal effect on S. mutans ATCC 25175T and S. sobrinus ATCC 33478T at > 2 x MIC (4 microg/ml) and 4 x MIC (8 microg/ml), respectively. Ursolic acid had no cytotoxic effect on KB cells at concentrations at which it exerted antimicrobial effects. The results suggest that ursolic acid can be used in the development of oral hygiene products for the prevention of dental caries.