At CarryOnGuy.com we're all about traveling light and we want to help you to make good, informed decisions about what to pack. Toothpaste is one of those essential toiletry items that you need for your continued good health. This brings up the question; can I bring toothpaste on a plane in my carry on bag?
The answer is that yes you can, and that you should bring toothpaste along. The other question is what size will be allowed on the plane since the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has put regulations into place that affect bringing toiletry items on a plane? One of the first things you should know is that toothpaste is considered to be a liquid according to the TSA rules. The size you can have in your carry on is 3.4 ounces. In Europe the size limit is 100ml.
Do remember that they don't only sell toothpaste in your home town. There is probably an excellent chance that you will be able to find toothpaste at your destination 😉
Since toothpaste is grouped in the category of a gel or liquid, you're restricted to size when it comes to the type you choose. A standard size tube of toothpaste is usually around 6 ounces. This is too large to bring on a plane. If you do bring a full size tube, it may be confiscated and thrown away. You need to buy some travel size toothpaste which is usually around 1.75 or 1.85 ounces, so you're well within the limit set by the TSA.
Keep your tube of toothpaste within the 3.4 ounce size maximum limitation or smaller, and you should be fine. All of your 3.4 ounce or less liquids should be packed in a clear, one quart size see through bag that can be easily removed from your carry on for inspection, if that's required at the airport you're departing from. At some airports, a half empty 6 ounce tube of toothpaste will be confiscated or thrown out, so it's always best to stick to toothpaste that is specifically sized and labeled for travel purposes.
The brand of toothpaste chosen for travel is usually the same brand you normally use for home use, and that brand choice is largely a matter of personal preference. Most of the major brands now offer tubes of toothpaste in smaller travel sizes for traveler's convenience. You can also choose a brand based on your dentist's recommendations, if there is a specific brand they recommend.
I'm a Colgate man. Always have been, always will be... apart from those times that I used those other brands of toothpaste.
You probably know what type of toothpaste you like. You can even buy a refillable toothpaste tube and just take some of your regular toothpaste.
You can hack the toothpaste system by using solid toothpaste. Mwahahaha (evil laugh).
I haven't actually tried these but they get great reviews. And since they are not a gel or liquid you can take as many as you like.
Travelers who plan to go out of the country and to stay for a long time in another country are advised to pick up a bottle of solid toothpaste tablets. Or just... you know... buy some toothpaste at the local shop ))
Toothpaste tablets are often the choice of athletes who are competing in other countries and for those who travel overseas regularly. When you're not sure if you'll be able to get to a store to buy tubes of toothpaste, tablets can be a terrific substitute that work nearly as well.
Toothpaste tablets come in bottles of 60, with one tablet being used each time teeth are brushed. The correct way to use these tablets is to chew one tablet and then brush normally. Usually toothpaste tablets foam just like regular toothpaste. The nice thing is that since tablets are solid, you can bring along as many as you will need for your trip, depending on how long you'll be gone. You should be able to breeze right through security without worries.
If you're like many people, you may not have ever heard of prescription toothpaste, but it does exist. Toothpaste with extra fluoride is often prescribed for people who have just had gum surgery or other dental procedures on teeth that have left roots partially exposed. The extra fluoride helps prevent cavities in teeth while the dental patient is healing.
Toothpaste can also be prescribed by a dentist for conditions like severe dry mouth. Prescription toothpaste can also be a smart way for dental patients to get the extra fluoride they need, and to get essential nutrients that are beneficial to their teeth like calcium.
The 3.4 Ounce Rule Still Applies to Prescription Toothpaste
The TSA still recommends you stick to the 3.4 ounce rule, even if you're traveling with specially prescribed toothpaste. Some prescription toothpaste already comes in a 3.4 ounce size container, so it's usually not a problem. If you need to bring more than what is normally allowed, it's advised that you have a letter from your dentist or doctor handy to show to the agent as supporting documentation stating that it's a medical necessity for you to bring extra toothpaste along.
At many airports, you'll also find special lanes through security that were created specifically for travelers with special medical needs. Whenever you're not sure, or if you have specific questions about whether or not you can bring prescription toothpaste along in your carry on bag, it's best to contact the TSA before your flight to get advice. Being prepared is always the best advice so that your trip, beginning with your experience with security, goes smoothly.
How is that for travel hack to bypass those authoritarian toothpaste rules!
Simply fake and illness, get a medical diagnosis and a letter from your dentist or doctor and you can take more than the carry on size limit for toothpaste! Just kidding kids, don't waste your doctors time ))
One question that often comes up when packing for a trip is how much toothpaste to bring along so you'll have enough? As far as travel toothpaste goes, one tube should last most people about two weeks.
This is true when toothpaste is squeezed out in a line that is the length of a normal toothbrush and when it is used twice a day. If you like to brush your teeth more often, it may be smart to pack an extra tube of toothpaste, especially if getting to a store will be difficult or inconvenient at your destination.
Children, of course, must use a pea-sized amount. So if you are packing a child with you for your vacation remember to also pack 1 small pea... so you will be able to accurately measure the required amount of toothpaste :)
TSA Liquid Rules: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/liquids-rule