Can You Bring Toothpaste On A Plane In Your Carry On?

Last Updated on September 9, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Toothpaste is considered a liquid by the TSA
  • You can bring toothpaste on a plane in carry-on bags in travel-size tubes less than or equal to 3.4 oz (100 ml)
  • A regular size tube of toothpaste is too big to bring on a plane
  • It is the size of toothpaste tube that matters, not the amount of toothpaste remaining in the tube
  • Solid toothpaste is allowed on a plane in carry-on luggage in unrestricted quantities
  • You can take toothpaste on a plane in checked luggage in unlimited quantities
  • Medically necessary prescription toothpaste is allowed through airport security in quantities greater than 3.4 oz

TSA Toothpaste Rules

The Transportation Security Administration regulates what you can and can’t bring through the airport security checkpoint.

Here’s what they saying about flying with toothpaste:

You can pack toothpaste in checked luggage without any restrictions.

But since toothpaste is considered a liquid by the TSA, the size you can pack in your carry-on luggage is limited to 3.4 oz or less.

A standard size tube of toothpaste is usually around 6 ounces, This is too large to bring on a plane in carry-on baggage.

If you do bring a full-size tube, it may be confiscated and thrown away by TSA officers. 

If you pack toothpaste in hand luggage you need to buy some travel size toothpaste which is usually around 1.75 or 1.85 ounces. With a tube of toothpaste that size you’re well within the limit set by the TSA.

These limits on container size are in place because toothpaste is considered to be a liquid according to the TSA rules. The maximum size you can have in your carry on luggage is 3.4 ounces. In Europe the size limit is 100ml.

For carry-on bags, toothpaste tubes should be packed inside your one quart sized toiletry bag.

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!

When I’m taking a trip somewhere I often use google street view to scout out the nearest drug store at my destination. If there is a shop nearby I sometimes don’t pack toothpaste at all and just buy some when I arrive.

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.

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.

Alternatively you could transfer some toothpaste from a large tube into a smaller container. Toothpaste doesn’t need to be in original packaging.

You can buy a refillable toothpaste tube and just take some of your regular toothpaste.

Why Is Toothpaste Not Allowed On Planes?

The problem isn’t that the TSA agents consider toothpaste itself to be dangerous.

The problem is that they don’t have any easy way to test every tube of toothpaste to check that it really has toothpaste inside.

Some liquids can be flammable and that creates a security threat. Read this post to find out more about why liquids including toothpaste are now allowed on planes.

Solid Toothpaste Tablets May Be Worth Trying

I haven’t actually tried these ​but they get great reviews. And since they are not a gel or liquid you can pack toothpaste tablets in unrestricted quantities.

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 the airport security checkpoint without worries.

Helpful Information About Prescription Toothpaste

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 oz rule does not apply to prescription toothpaste.

Some prescription toothpaste already comes in a 3.4 ounce size container, so it’s 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.

But it isn’t strictly necessary to have a doctor’s note. You simply need to inform the TSA officer that your prescription toothpaste is a medically necessary liquid.

Remove your prescription toothpaste from your carry-on bag and put it in a separate tray. The TSA agent will carry out additional screening to allow you to bring it through the security check point.

Knowing How Much To Bring

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 3.4 oz 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 :)​

Word of the Day! – A blob of toothpaste that you put onto your brush is called a nurdle!

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2 thoughts on “Can You Bring Toothpaste On A Plane In Your Carry On?”

  1. The weird thing about the TSA 100ml/3.4oz liquid volume limit including toothpaste is that I’ve only seen toothpaste sold & labeled by weight. A tube with a weight of 3.4oz may or may not be under the volume limit and there isn’t an easy way to know if it’s ok.

    • True Larry! It’s a bit weird. I just found it written somewhere that 1.3 grams of toothpaste is 1 ml. 1 gram of water is, of course, 1ml so 100g = 100 ml. In that case 100ml of toothpaste would be 130 grams then. And if my maths 3.4 ounces of toothpaste would be around 77ml.

      But I’d just stick to under 100g so not to confuse the security guards! If they see 100 or 3.4 written on any small container they will be happy.

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