Can You Bring Toothpaste on a Plane?

Travelling with your personal products in your hand luggage can make all the difference, but you should only pack what you need in your hand luggage if possible. If you’re traveling, and especially on a long flight, or one with connections, there is a good chance you’ll want to take toothpaste with you to freshen up and to have on hand easily. So, can you take toothpaste in your carry-on? The answer is yes, but there are restrictions.

In recent years, the rules on whether you can bring liquids, gels and pastes on planes, which includes toothpaste, have become more confusing to understand. This is made even more so by some airports and airlines relaxing their rules on quantities of liquids that you can take in your carry on – making them different from others. Though generally, you should air on the side of caution. This article explains any differences in rules per location of taking toothpaste with you in your luggage, be that carry-on or hold.

can you take toothpaste on a plane

Why Wouldn’t You Be Allowed to Take Toothpaste in Carry-On Luggage?

As toothpaste is counted as a gel (airport security count all gels, liquids and pastes in a similar way), there are strict rules around how much of these kind of substances you can take with you in your carry on. Toothpaste is of course an everyday essential, much like deodorant, shampoo or snacks that you’re likely to want to take with you in your carry on, so it’s important to understand the reasons you may not be allowed.

It’s over the size restriction. All liquids, pastes and gels taken in your hand luggage need to be under a certain size. If the toothpaste you try to take in your carry on is over 100ml or 3.4oz, you will not be allowed through security with it. Therefore, if your toothpaste is above 100ml or 3.4oz, you’ll need to make sure you buy a travel sized or mini toothpaste if you want to take this in your carry on.

It doesn’t fit into your allowed bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. You are generally limited to one 20x20cm or a quart-sized resealable, clear plastic bag for your toiletries at the airport. It’s advised to get hold of a travel bag in advance for this so that you can put all of your toiletries in to make sure they fit. Anything that doesn’t will likely be confiscated from you at security.

So, Can I Bring Toothpaste on a Plane as Carry-On Luggage?

Generally, the answer to the question of whether you can bring toothpaste on a plane in carry-on baggage is yes, but there are rules around it which you need to follow. Below, we’ve broken this down by area of travel to make it easier to refer to before you board the plane and to hopefully avoid having your bag searched.

USA – What Does the TSA Say About Toothpaste?

The TSA clearly states that toothpaste is classed within their rules for liquids, gels, pastes, aerosols and perfumes. Therefore, if you wish to take toothpaste in your carry on, it will need to follow their 3-1-1 liquids rule. This means that every passenger can carry these items up to 3.4oz or 100ml and has a limit of one quart sized or 20x20cm sized see through plastic bag. Everything that falls into this category in your checked baggage must fit into this plastic bag for scanning at security or you will not be able to take it through.

The UK – What Are the UK Government’s Regulations Concerning Toothpaste in Hand Luggage?

Similar to the USA, the gov.uk website clearly states that liquids can be taken in hand luggage, but these need to be in containers no bigger than 100ml. This is also the same for pastes, gels and aerosols, which toothpaste falls into. You must keep your toothpaste in your carry-on in a small transparent and resealable plastic bag. You are limited to one and it shouldn’t be bigger than 20x20cm.

You cannot use a knotted bag or one that is tied at the top. They also state that even if your container isn’t full, but it is marked as over 100ml on the container, you are also not allowed to travel with these in your carry on, other than for certain medical and dietary reasons.

https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions

Europe – What Are the EU’s Guidelines Regarding Toothpaste?

The EU has similar restrictions when it comes to liquids and limits the amount you can take in your hand luggage. Their website clearly states that you can carry liquids, which must be in individual containers, to a capacity of 100ml and this must be in one transparent plastic bag that doesn’t exceed a liter (roughly 20x20cm).

https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-modes/air/aviation-security/information-air-travellers_en

Australia – Does the ABF Have Laws About Toothpaste?

Australia has different rules depending on whether you are travelling domestically or internationally.

Within Australia, if traveling domestically, there are no restrictions on liquids, powders, aerosols or gels that you can carry. They do note that if you are departing from an international terminal, such as T1 in Sydney or T2 in Melbourne, that you will need to follow the rules for international flights when it comes to liquids and gels. They also state that all aerosols need to have a cap that fits or a way of locking it ‘off’.

If you’re traveling internationally, or traveling from an international terminal as above, you will need to fit within the 100ml/100g rule. If traveling with toothpaste, you must put this in a clear plastic bag of 20x20cm, and you’re only allowed one bag per passenger.

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do/travelsecure/carry-on-baggage/travelling-with-powders-liquids-aerosols-and-gels

can you take toothpaste on a plane

New Zealand – What Are the CAA of New Zealand’s Rules About Toothpaste?

Similar to many of the other countries already listed, if traveling from New Zealand, you will need to make sure your toothpaste is under 100ml to be able to fly in your carry-on. It will also need to fit into a re-sealable 20x20cm plastic bag.

https://www.aviation.govt.nz/passenger-information/powders-liquids-aerosols-and-gels-plags/?/-

Canada – What Does the CBSA Say About Toothpaste?

The CBSA states that liquids, gels and aerosols must be within 100ml/100g/3.4oz packages or less and they must be held within one clear resealable plastic bag per traveler. This bag must be around 20x20cm and hold up to 1 liter (1 quart).

https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/what-can-bring/item/toothpaste

The Rest of the World

The general consensus is that if you follow the 100ml/3.4oz liquids, gels and pastes rule and have it fit into a 20x20cm clear, resealable plastic bag, you can air on the side of caution. However, if traveling within the rest of the world, it is a good idea to check out the individual airline that you’re traveling with for further information.

What’s the Best Advice for Travelling on a Plane with Toothpaste?

Like many other toiletries you may want to take on a plane with you to keep you refreshened up on a long flight, or if you’re just traveling with your carry on, you need to carry your toothpaste in the best way to avoid any problems at the airport.

If traveling with toothpaste in your carry-on, you should follow the liquids, pastes and gels rule based on the country you’re flying from. Generally, this is set at 100ml/3.4oz if traveling internationally (as some countries have more relaxed rules if traveling domestically). However, to air on the side of caution it is best to follow this rule for all flights, whether domestic or international.

Of course, toothpaste is generally not an expensive item, so if you forget and this is taken away from you, replacing it isn’t a great worry. The main concern is if you are flagged by security for trying to travel with toothpaste which is larger than 100ml in your carry-on, you could be waiting a while to have your bag checked. This can lead to delays, and if you are already running a little late for your flight, can cause unneeded stress.

With this in mind, it is always best to plan ahead, to make sure that your toothpaste fits the 100ml/3.4oz rule and that all of your toiletries fit in one 20x20cm clear, plastic resealable bag (these are also usually available at the airport too). You will also need to make sure that you take this plastic bag out from your travel bag and leave it in a tray to be easily seen and scanned by the airport staff.

What Happens If Your Toothpaste Is Flagged by Airport Security?

If your toothpaste is flagged by security, your whole tray that includes your toothpaste will need to be checked and scanned again. This can take a little while sometimes and can of course be frustrating, especially if you’ve experienced lengthy lines so far and are in a rush for your flight.

It is important to try and remain as calm as possible if your items are flagged by security, and you need to remember that the security officer is just doing their job to keep you and other passengers safe.

The main reason why you are likely to find that your toothpaste is flagged by security is if it is over 100ml in size. It is important to remember that even if you have less than 100ml of toothpaste in the container, if the container is bigger than this, you will not be able to travel with it.

It could also be that the items you’re taking in your toiletries bag do not fit into one bag – this needs to be closed so it’s always a good idea to make sure this fastens and isn’t overloaded before you get to security to avoid any mistakes.

If there are any problems, unfortunately, any items that can’t travel with you will be disposed of, so a little prep work can go a long way. It’s important to remain nice and kind with the security officer as their decision is final and will make the whole process move along a lot faster.

How to Pack Toothpaste in Your Luggage

Due to the rules surrounding carrying pastes, liquids and aerosols in your luggage, there are different ways you can pack toothpaste to avoid any problems at the airport.

Packing Toothpaste in Carry-On Luggage

As above, you should make sure to pack your toothpaste into a 20x20cm clear plastic bag. This should be resealable, and you should avoid knotting it. This could have your liquids bag searched. You should also make sure that your toothpaste is in a container that is 100ml or less. This may mean you need to buy a toothpaste tube that is smaller than your regular one and most brands will do a travel sized toothpaste now that fits in with this restriction.

You should always make sure that the lid is tightly fastened on your toothpaste, as the last thing you want when arriving at your destination is to find that it has leaked out all over the rest of your toiletries. Worse still, all over your clothes. You can also protect things even more by putting your toiletries bag inside a waterproof and sealable washbag once you have completed security.

Packing Toothpaste in Hold Luggage

Packing toothpaste in your hold luggage is much easier than packing it in your carry-on baggage. There are no real restrictions at all when it comes to liquids, creams, pastes, and gels in your hold luggage. This means that you do not need to get a smaller sized toothpaste than normal, and you can just put this with the rest of your toiletries.

However, you should always make sure that when you pack liquids and pastes/gels into your checked baggage that it is securely fastened and there is no chance of it leaking all over the rest of your items. Generally, a waterproof and sealable washbag will help here, and try to keep this away from any electricals you might have in your bag too. The last thing you want after a long flight is to arrive at your destination and find your luggage ruined!

What Are the Different Types of Toothpaste?

There are a lot of different types of toothpaste on the market right now, which have different properties and are suited to various concerns. Here are just a few.

Fluoride toothpaste: This is by far one of the most common types of toothpaste and 90% of those on sale in general drug stores or supermarkets fall into this category. They strengthen your teeth and mineralizes to help with decay.

Sensitive toothpaste: If you suffer with sensitivity, you may benefit from this kind of toothpaste. This works to block nerve endings, and therefore helps with your sensitivity to hot and cold.

Herbal toothpaste: If you want something more natural, and want to avoid chemicals, then this might well be for you. They are also biodegradable, so these can make a great option if you’re traveling for a backpacking trip.

Powder toothpaste: Another option to think about when traveling is powder toothpaste. This is a good option as there are no real restrictions in hand baggage and carry on when it comes to powders, and they can also last a very long time. The idea is that you mix up a small amount of the powder as and when you need it.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is generally ok to travel with toothpaste in your hand luggage and carry-on, provided you follow the rules relating to liquids, pastes, gels and aerosols. Generally, this is the same for most countries if traveling internationally. Some countries do have different rules when it comes to internal flights, but we’d advise to avoid any confusion, to stick to the 100ml/3.4oz rule in a 20x20cm bag.

If you do have your toothpaste confiscated at the airport, it will generally be because it doesn’t fit into your clear plastic bag or it is oversized, and this can be avoided by traveling with a travel sized toothpaste.