In the present work, we studied the effect of the hydroalcoholic extract (HAE) from Punica granatum (pomegranate) fruits on dental plaque microorganisms. The study was conducted on 60 healthy patients (33 females and 27 males, with age ranging from 9 to 25 years) using fixed orthodontic appliances, and randomly distributed into 3 groups of 20 patients each. The first group (control) used distilled water, while the second and third groups used chlorhexidine (standard) and HAE as mouth-rinses, respectively. The dental plaque material was collected from each patient, before and after a 1-min mouth-rinse with 15 ml of either distilled water, chlorhexidine or HAE. In both dental plaque collections, the material was removed from patients without oral hygiene, for 24 h (no tooth brushing). Dental plaque samples were diluted in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) plated on Mueller-Hinton agar, and incubated for 48 h, at 37 degrees C. Results, expressed as the number of colony forming units per milliliter (CFU/mL), show that the HAE was very effective against dental plaque microorganisms, decreasing the CFU/ml by 84% (CFU x 10(5)), before mouth-rinse: 154.0 +/- 41.18; after mouthrinse: 25.4 +/- 7.76). While similar values were observed with chlorhexidine, used as standard and positive control (79% inhibition), only an 11% inhibition of CFU/ml was demonstrated in the distilled water group, negative control (CFU x 10(5)), before mouth-rinse: chlorhexidine, 208.7 +/- 58.81 and distilled water, 81.1 +/- 10.12; after mouth-rinse: chlorhexidine, 44.0 +/- 15.85 and distilled water, 71.9 +/- 8.68). The HAE presented also an antibacterial activity against selected microorganisms, and may be a possible alternative for the treatment of dental plaque bacteria.