Packing for vacations can be tough, especially if you’re new to traveling. We’ve all been there at some point, but once you learn the basics, you’re set for life.
We get questions about packing toothpaste and other dental products all the time. Everyone needs to follow proper dental hygiene, even on vacations.
In this post, we’ll answer the most commonly asked questions about packing dental care products. You’ll learn how to pack toothpaste in luggage, how much and which types are allowed, and everything else about packing other dental care products, like mouthwash and floss picks.
Can You Bring Toothpaste on a Plane?
According to the TSA (Transport Security Administration), toothpaste is allowed on airplanes, but in limited quantities. That’s because toothpaste is considered a gel, and most airline regulators have set rules for all liquids and gels packed inside hand baggage.
The toothpaste doesn’t have to be in its original packaging, and all types of toothpaste are allowed, regardless of the brand.
If you don’t have toothpaste in a small container available, but you do have a larger one, potentially you could just transfer the toothpaste to a smaller container and pack it inside your hand luggage.
Read next: 75 Packing Tips For International Travel
What Size Toothpaste Can You Carry on an Airplane?
In America, toothpaste in hand luggage has to be stored in containers that aren’t larger than 3.4 oz. Other countries that follow the metric system follow this same rule, and toothpaste is limited to 100 ml quantities, which is the equivalent of 3.4 oz.
Usually, you can get a small 1 oz toothpaste in any local store. But if you’re planning on traveling quite often or you have a large family, getting this pack of Colgate 24-pack 1 oz Travel-Size Toothpaste would set you up for a long time.
When it comes to figuring out how long will this 1 oz toothpaste will last, here’s what Colgate has to say.
You can get up to three brushings from each ounce of toothpaste. For a travel size toothpaste with 3.4 ounces in the tube, that means you can expect to get 9 to 10 brushings.
Although Colgate says that a small 1 oz toothpaste will last, essentially, one and a half-day if you brush twice per day, in reality, it lasts much longer. This article says that a small 1 oz travel toothpaste should last for about two weeks, which, from our own experience, sounds about right.
How to Pack Toothpaste in Your Hand Luggage
If you’re packing your toothpaste in your carry-on, you need to follow the 3-1-1 rule.
Essentially, all liquids, gels, and creams have to be stored in 3.4 oz or smaller bottles and have to be stored in a transparent one quart-sized zip-lock bag. Each passenger can carry only one quart-sized bag with toiletries. The “3-1-1” stands for 3 ounces, 1 passenger, 1 quart-sized bag.
When you’ve packed your toothpaste inside the transparent quart-sized bag, make sure to store it somewhere easily accessible, preferably in your backpack or purse. That’s because, during the security checks, you’ll have to remove your plastic bag with toiletries and place it inside a separate bin, so it can be screened by the x-ray machine.
Can You Pack Regularly-Sized Toothpaste in Checked Baggage?
According to the TSA, you can pack any toothpaste in the checked luggage, regardless of its size. So if you’re traveling with a checked bag for longer periods, it might be a smarter choice to take one large toothpaste tube in your checked bag, instead of several smaller ones.
Also, in checked baggage, your toothpaste doesn’t have to be stored in any quart-sized transparent bags. That said, we would recommend that to avoid any spills.
Thanks for checking, Michael. A 5oz tube of toothpaste must go in checked bags. In carry-on bags, toiletries must be in containers that are 3.4oz or less & fit into a resealable quart-sized bag. Only one bag is allowed per passenger in carry-on. Pls see: https://t.co/lF54Sx7RfA
— AskTSA (@AskTSA) May 11, 2019
How Many Toothpaste Tubes Can You Bring on a Plane?
The TSA doesn’t limit the number of toothpaste tubes you’re allowed to bring. You could come with bags full of toothpaste tubes, and the TSA wouldn’t bat an eye.
However, your bags also go through the customs when you’re traveling internationally. If the customs officers think that you’ve bought an unreasonable amount of toothpaste not intended for personal use, they’ll ask you to pay an import duty tax. It differs between various countries, and you’d have to look it up to be certain how much it costs, but it’s usually around 10-30% of the purchase price.
Can You Pack Toothpaste Tablets in Your Carry-On?
If you don’t know what toothpaste tablets are, essentially they’re identical to toothpaste, just in solid form. When brushing your teeth, you take one tablet and chew it up. It then creates a foam identical to regular toothpaste, with which you can brush your teeth.
Because toothpaste tablets are in a solid form, you don’t have to follow the 3-1-1 TSA rule. If they’re placed inside hand luggage, they don’t have to be put inside your quart-sized toiletry bag, which saves some space.
They’re especially handy for backpackers and frequent travelers. They take up less space and last a long time. Also, if you’re concerned about the environment, they usually come in recyclable plastic bottles, which are better than those non-recyclable metal tubes. Personally, I use the Archtek Toothpaste Mint Tablets, which are seen in the picture above. They’re cheap, taste good, and I haven’t found any better alternatives.
That said, I would highly encourage you to pack toothpaste tablets in their original packaging. All medicine has to be in the original packaging. Although these tablets aren’t medicine, a few tablets in an unmarked container could get you in trouble or additional questioning.
Can You Pack Prescription Toothpaste in Your Carry-On?
If your toothpaste is medically prescribed, in the original packaging, and you take the prescription with you, then you can take any amount in your carry-on, regardless of the container size. Additionally, you don’t have to store prescribed toothpaste together with your other toiletries in the transparent quart-sized bag, because it’s considered a medication, not a toiletry. If you want to, you can ask the TSA agent not to screen it through the x-ray machine, and they’ll do a manual inspection.
Thanks for checking, Michele! Prescription toothpaste is allowed in your carry-on bag and can be more than 3.4 oz. You must let our officers know it’s medically necessary and place it in a separate bin for X-ray screening. For more info, pls watch: https://t.co/cPIhZrF7b6
— AskTSA (@AskTSA) May 9, 2019
Can You Bring Mouthwash on a Plane?
If you’re planning on bringing mouthwash, you have to follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids.
When packed in hand luggage, the mouthwash needs to be in a 3.4 oz container or smaller and has to be stored together with other toiletries in your transparent quart-sized bag.
But if you’re storing the mouthwash inside your checked luggage, you can bring any amount, regardless of the container size. Also, it doesn’t have to be packed inside any transparent bags.
Can You Bring Prescription Mouthwash on a Plane?
Some people have special prescription mouthwashes for treating gum diseases and other dental issues. Similar to prescription toothpaste, prescription mouthwash is considered a medicine, not a toiletry.
You can bring any amount of prescription mouthwash inside your hand luggage, regardless of the container size. That said, the mouthwash needs to be in its original packaging, and you need to take the prescription with you. If you don’t want it screened, you can ask the TSA agents, and they’ll inspect it separately.
Can You Bring Floss Picks on a Plane?
Any floss picks can be packed inside hand luggage and checked luggage. They aren’t considered a toiletry, and you don’t have to pack them together with your other toiletries.
If you don’t know what floss picks are, essentially they’re a slight upgrade from regular mouth floss. Instead of just a string, the string is pre-attached to a handle, which makes it slightly easier to floss your teeth. That said, usually, the handles aren’t reusable, so they’re not particularly environmentally-friendly.
Sure thing! Floss picks are allowed in your carry-on bag. Have a safe trip!
— AskTSA (@AskTSA) April 1, 2017