Dyes currently used to stain carious dentine have a limited capacity to discriminate normal dentine from carious dentine, which may result in overexcavation. Consequently, finding a selective dye is still a challenge. However, there is evidence that hydrazine-based dyes, via covalent bonds to functional groups, bind specifically to carious dentine. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible formation of covalent bonds between carious dentine and 15N2-hydrazine and the hydrazine-based dye, 15N2-labelled Lucifer Yellow, respectively. Powdered dentine from extracted carious and normal teeth was exposed to the dyes, and the staining reactions were analysed using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), solid-state 13C-labelled nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and 15N-NMR spectroscopy. The results showed that 15N2-hydrazine and 15N2-labelled Lucifer Yellow both bind to carious dentine but not to normal dentine. It can thus be concluded that hydrazine-based dyes can be used to stain carious dentine and leave normal dentine unstained.