In order to exploit novel anticaries agents, we investigated the effects of citrus lemon oil (CLO), a type of natural product, on growth and adherence of the primary oral cariogenic bacteria Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans). The growth inhibitory effect was explored with a micro-dilution assay. Adherence was analyzed by colony counts on the respective surfaces and the adherence inhibition rate (AIR). Real time-PCR was used to investigate the effects of CLO on transcription of glucosyltransferase (Gtf) encoding genes, gtfB, C and D. Neson-Somogyi method was used to measure the effects of CLO on Gtf activity. The minimum inhibitory concentration of CLO against S. mutans was 4.5 mg/ml. The CLO effectively reduced the adherence of S. mutans on glass surface (the AIR were from 98.3 to 100 %, P > 0.05) and saliva-coated enamel surface (the AIR were from 54.8 to 79.2 %, P < 0.05). CLO effectively reduced the activity of Gtf and the transcription of gtfs in a dose dependent manner (P < 0.05). In conclusion, CLO can effectively inhibit the growth and the adherence to glass and saliva-coated enamel surfaces of S. mutans. It can also inhibit the transcription of gtfs, as well as the Gtf enzyme activity.