Toothpaste is a liquid according to the TSA (Transport Security Agency) and thus follows the same rules. Even today, liquids have restrictions by the 3-1-1 rule in hand luggage due to safety threats. The rule means that each passenger can bring liquids in 3.4 oz containers or smaller. But the containers must be in a 1-quart bag, and each passenger can have only one of these bags.
How To Pack Toothpaste For Travel
Since you use up around 0.25 grams of toothpaste per brushing, a 14-day vacation would require 7 grams (0.25 oz) of toothpaste. So, a small travel-sized tube of 1 oz is more than enough to last through your trip.
When packing your toothpaste in a carry-on, it should always be in your resealable bag of toiletries. A 1-liter Ziploc bag will usually be fine. Other than that, you’re free to pack your toothpaste however you want to. I’ve never had toothpaste spill in my luggage because the cap usually screws on very tightly. So, if you’re packing it in your checked baggage, there’s really no need to place it inside a sealed bag.
You can’t bring full-size toothpaste tubes in your hand luggage, even if they are half-empty. The 4 oz, 5 oz, and 6 oz tubes are all banned from hand luggage – only tubes smaller than 3.4 oz (100 ml) are allowed.
3D Scanners for Toothpaste
New airport 3D CT scanners are making their way to some US airports, which can safely scan liquids in any quantity. So, this restriction might become a thing of the past in the next few years. The problem right now is that at a federal level, liquids are still okay in hand luggage, even in airports with the new scanners. But as soon as more airports roll out the new CT systems, the rules might change.
- Hand luggage: In carry-ons and personal items, toothpaste must be under 3.4 oz (100 ml) tubes or smaller. It also needs to be in a transparent, resealable, 1-quart bag together with your other liquids, pastes, and gels.
- Checked Luggage: Toothpaste may be in any quantity without restrictions.
Flying With Toothpaste Internationally
The rules for packing toothpaste in your luggage are virtually the same worldwide, except for New Zealand and Australia. Both countries have finished rolling out the new airport CT 3D scanners, so there are no quantity restrictions anymore for toothpaste and other liquids in hand luggage. This is only for domestic NZ and AU flights for now; on international ones, you still have to follow the 3-1-1 rule.
Is Prescription Toothpaste Also Restricted In Carry-on Luggage?
You can bring prescription toothpaste through security even if it’s larger than 3.4 oz (100 ml). This is because liquid medicine is okay in larger quantities, and prescription toothpaste is classified as a medicine.
When going through the security checkpoint, you don’t need to pack it inside a resealable bag together with your other toiletries. Instead, pack it separately and inform the TSA officer that you are carrying prescription medicine.
Although TSA doesn’t usually require you to bring the prescription note, it’s a good idea to do it anyway to prove that you really need to travel with prescription medication. If you have one available electronically, it’s also fine.