Can You Bring Toothpaste in Your Luggage on a Plane?

Whether you’re off for a business trip, a weekend getaway, or a longer adventure, flying can have a certain impact on your oral health during takeoff and landing due to the change of atmospheric pressure. So it is utmostly important to bring your toothbrush as well as toothpaste along with you in order to maintain good oral hygiene while you’re on the go, and also prevent cavities and gum disease from beginning or progressing. But isn’t toothpaste considered as hazardous waste? Would it be okay for you to bring on flight your own toothpaste?

Complicated as airport regulations might appear, travelling with items for oral hygiene such as toothbrush, mouthwash or toothpaste is actually easier than you think. If you have been tossing and turning wondering if toothpaste counts as a liquid and whether it is allowed on board, we are here to help you answer all the questions.

The TSA Regulation for Toiletries Items

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration in the USA) has the following regulations on their website with regard to the liquids limitations in carry-on luggage:

“You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 millilitres) or less per item. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule.”

In short, here’s how the rule work for carry-on luggage:

  • 3 – Travellers may carry liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in containers of 3.4oz (100ml) or less.
  • 1 – The aforementioned items must fit into 1 clear plastic, quart-sized and resealable bag.
  • 1 – 1 bag per passenger only

This rule applies to U.S. airlines, however, all airlines over the world have a tendency to follow them too. If you are unsure about a particular item, please call in with the airline directly or check on their website to make sure you have everything organised. 

Note: If you are travelling for a longer trip, check out our Ultimate Toiletries Packing List.

Can You Bring Toothpaste on a Plane?

The answer is yes. 

Toothpaste is permitted on aircraft but only in quantities of 3.4 oz (100ml) or less. The same goes for lotion, shampoo, shaving cream, etc. If you are only travelling with carry-on baggage, keep in mind all these rules when bringing your liquids through security checkpoints. The best way to stay safe is to follow the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule to not get into any trouble. 

If the toothpaste is in larger volumes, you should put it in your check-in baggage. Although it is not required, for safer choice, we highly recommend you place your toothpaste in a clear bag that can easily be removed from your carry-on during the screening process.

Note: You can check for more information along with the list of items that are allowed and prohibited directly on the TSA main site.

Can I bring toothpaste that is in a 5 ounces tube but rolled up so it is less than 3.4 ounces?

That is a clear no. As stated in the TSA liquid regulation, it is the size of the container that counts, not the actual contents. A 125 ml tube of toothpaste that has been half used up is not permitted, but a full 100 ml tube is. 

When you bring in a transparent tube of toothpaste that is labelled as 5 ounces, and show the TSA agents that it is obviously less than half full, they still will not let it in. This applies to just about all liquids. 

So, buy a travel-size tube of toothpaste, and pack it in your luggage each time you are about to hit the road. You can find travel-sized toothpaste tubes (less than 100 ml) with a cheap price available at almost every pharmacy. It is definitely a small price to pay for not having to hold up security. 

The size of the container is what sets the limit. Image from Unsplash

Can I bring an empty bottle or tube?

Empty? Of course you can. Most any empty bottle can be brought through security and filled with water (or other liquids) you acquire inside security.

How many ounces of liquid can you bring on a plane? Why is that the limit?

As mentioned above, the limit is not actually on ounces of liquid, but on the capacity of bottles or tubes you bring on the plane that contain liquid. And the amount you are allowed depends on the country. Although the typical limit is 3.4 ounces (100 millimetres), remember to check online with your airline/airport directly to make sure you pack your essentials correctly and always do this for every country you are going to visit.

What is the best way to travel with a toothpaste?

The best way to travel with a toothpaste is to put it in your check-in luggage, as it is considered to be hazardous materials. 

However, if you are a long-distance flyer, it is advisable to brush, floss and even rinse your mouth regularly so as to maintain your oral health while you are busy jet-setting. So for a long flight, keep one travel-size toothpaste tube (less than 100 ml) together with your toothbrush in a see-through bag in your carry-on luggage. This will not only make sure that it does not get lost you can also use it whenever needed during the flight or when you arrive at your destination. 

Phuong Nguyen


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