Clinical application of ozone gas has been shown to arrest the progression of dentinal caries in children. In this study, we compare the immediate effects of gaseous ozone and chlorhexidine gel on bacteria in cavitated carious lesions in children. Forty children, each with at least two open occlusal carious lesions, were enrolled in the study. Two teeth were chosen randomly. In one lesion, overlying soft biological material was removed, whilst the other lesion was not excavated. Cavities were rinsed with sterile water and dried with air. A standardised sample was taken from the mesial part of each lesion. Then, gaseous ozone (HealOzone) or 1% chlorhexidine gel (Corsodyl) was applied for 30 s on both lesions of 20 children each, and a second sample was taken from the distal part of each lesion. The anaerobic microbiota was cultivated; the number of colony forming units was calculated per milligram sample. The two-sided paired t test showed no significant (P > 0.05) differences in the reduction of total bacterial counts per milligram comparing samples before and after ozone or chlorhexidine application. The tests also showed no statistically significant difference whether the superficial decayed dentine had been removed before ozone or with chlorhexidine treatment or not. It can be concluded that gaseous ozone or chlorhexidine gel application for 30 s to deep occlusal carious cavities had no significant immediate antimicrobial effects whether the superficial decayed layers dentine were removed or not.