Traveling with Dental Products: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

We use affiliate links, and receive a small commission if you make purchases through them. Find out more here.

Packing for vacations can be difficult, especially if you’re new to traveling. We’ve all been there at some point, but once you learn the basics, you’ll be 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 such as 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. Your toothpaste doesn’t have to be in its original packaging, and all types and brands are allowed. If you don’t have a small container available for your toothpaste, but you do have a larger one, you could just put it inside of your hand luggage.

Read Next: 80 Packing Tips For International Travel

What Size Toothpaste Can You Carry on an Airplane?

In America, toothpaste that’s kept inside of hand luggage is to be stored in containers that aren’t larger than 3.4 oz. Other countries that follow the metric system follow this same rule. That means 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 a 1 oz toothpaste tube 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 one and a half days if you brush twice per day, in reality, it lasts much longer. This article states that a small travel toothpaste tube should last for about 48 days or 7 weeks. From our own experience, a small tube is usually enough for about one month.

How to Pack Toothpaste in Your Hand Luggage

toiletries in a plastic quart-size bag
Image source: Flickr

If you’re packing your toothpaste in your carry-on, you need to follow the 3-1-1 rule. All liquids, gels, and creams have to be stored in 3.4 oz or smaller bottles and 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 rule” 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. The reason for this is because you’ll have to remove your toiletry bag and place it inside a separate bin to pass through 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 long periods, it might be a smarter choice to take one large toothpaste tube in your checked bag instead of several smaller ones.

Keep in mind that your toothpaste doesn’t have to be stored in a quart-sized transparent bag if it’s packed in checked luggage. That said, we would recommend that you use one to avoid any spills.

TSA answer on Twitter about toothpaste on planes

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 customs when you’re traveling internationally. If the customs officers think that you’ve bought an unreasonable amount of toothpaste that’s 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 of how much it costs, but it’s usually around 10-30% of the purchase price.

Can You Pack Toothpaste Tablets in Your Carry-On?

Traveling with Dental Products: Here's Everything You Need to Know 1If you don’t know what toothpaste tablets are, they’re identical to toothpaste, just in solid form. When brushing your teeth, you take out a single tablet and chew it up. It then creates a foam that is identical to regular toothpaste! Because toothpaste tablets are in solid form, you don’t have to follow the 3-1-1 TSA rule. If the tablets are placed inside hand luggage, they don’t have to be put inside your quart-sized toiletry bag, which will save some space.

They’re 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. These are more eco-friendly than those non-recyclable metal tubes. One of our staff members uses the Archtek Toothpaste Mint Tablets, which you can see in the picture above. They’re cheap, taste good, and he hasn’t had much luck with alternatives.

That said, we 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, loose tablets in an unmarked container could get you in trouble or require additional questioning.

Can You Pack Prescription Toothpaste in Your Carry-On?

If your toothpaste is prescribed to you by a medical professional and in the original packaging, you can take any amount inside of your carry-on, regardless of the container size. Remember that you need to bring your prescription as well. 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 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.

AskTSA answer on Twitter about prescription toothpaste on planes

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 a transparent bag.

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 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?

Floss picks can be packed inside hand luggage and checked luggage. They aren’t categorized as a part of your toiletries, and you don’t have to pack them together with your other toiletries. If you don’t know what floss picks are, you might find that they’re a slight upgrade from regular mouth floss. Instead of just a string, the string is pre-attached to a handle and can make flossing easier. The handles usually aren’t reusable, so they’re not very environmentally friendly. Instead, you could use environmentally-friendly floss picks.

AskTSA Twitter answer about floss picks on planes

Other Frequently Asked Questions

We get questions about bringing stuff on planes all the time. We’ve written a lot of other guides where we answer your most commonly asked questions.

You can check them out over here:

This post is also available in: English Deutsch

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)