Is Toothpaste Considered A Liquid by TSA?

Many travelers around the world want to have the most important items with them while traveling on an airplane.

Items such as clothing and hygienic items are needed so they can have what they need. One of these items is toothpaste.

Toothpaste is a very important item that helps keep your teeth clean and healthy.

If it is one of the items that you need to have with you while traveling, it must pass through the TSA.

The TSA is the one responsible for the safety and security of travelers. It does so by putting rules and regulations about the items that can and can’t be taken with you.

Toothpaste is one of these items that you can take with you. But is toothpaste considered a liquid by the TSA?

Yes, toothpaste is considered a liquid according to the TSA even though it’s a gel.

According to the TSA, it is considered a liquid due to the fact that it can get pulled out from a bottle or container and used by you.

What items are considered liquid by the TSA?

The TSA considers any gel, liquids, aerosols as liquids. Some of these examples are:

  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Gels
  • Conditioner
  • Moisturiser
  • Baby formula
  • Breast milk
  • Juice for babies
  • Prescription medications
  • Liquid nutrition for people with a medical disability
  • Medical or cosmetic items with liquid

The 3-1-1 rule for toothpaste

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The 3-1-1 rule refers to the number of toiletries that you can have in your carry on luggage.

You can specifically get 3.4 ounces of liquids and gels, per one bag, per person.

It is also important to know that this rule applies only to carry on luggage rather than checked luggage.

So, why was this rule implemented?

This rule was implemented because there was a terrorist attack that happened in the UK.

In this attack, there was an attempt to hide liquid explosives in the plane as soft drinks. This was a very serious attack that led many to fear getting attacked again.

So, this led the USA to make a change that involved following the 3:1:1 rule to capture those who plan for an attack.

The exception to the 3:1:1 rule

There are two exceptions for the 3:1:1 rule which are medications and necessities needed for children.

You can separate liquid medications from toiletries so they don’t get mixed up at all. They don’t have to be put in zip bags.

You can also bring other necessary medical equipment such as syringes, pumps, and bags.

As for children, they also need to have things such as formula, breast milk, and juices.

All you have to do is just mark them, separate them, and inform the TSA.

They may ask to see these items just to be sure so make sure that they are close to you.

Ways around the 3:1:1 rule that is legal

Carry the liquids in your checked bag

You can carry anything that is considered liquid such as toothpaste in your checked baggage.

Any amount of toothpaste can be packed in your checked baggage. There is no limit as to the number of toothpaste that you can put.

Bring it in solid form

You can bring the toothpaste in solid form because there are no restrictions toward taking objects in solid form. You can bring as many as they need.

Carrying toothpaste

Can you bring toothpaste in an airplane in a carry on luggage?

Yes, you can bring a toothpaste in your carry on luggage when you are on the plane.

However, you have to follow the 3-1-1 rule where all liquids, gels, and aerosols must be 3.4 ounces or 100 ml.

The 3-1-1 stands for 3 ounces of liquids, gels, and aerosols, 1 passenger, and 1-quart sized bag.

Common travel items that comply with the 3-1-1 rule are toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. 

Also, when you pack your toothpaste, you got to be sure that it is put in a place that is accessible such as your carry on baggage or purse.

There are many things that you can bring in your carry on luggage such as a phone charger.

To know more about bringing a phone charger in your carry on luggage, check Can I Have A Phone Charger in My Hand Luggage?

Can you take toothpaste in your checked baggage?

Yes, you can carry toothpaste in your checked baggage that is of any size and quantity.

It is better to pack up a large tube of toothpaste so you can have room for many other things that you could pack in your checked baggage.

You don’t have to put it in a quart bag as you aren’t required by the TSA to do so.

However, to avoid spilling coming from the toothpaste, it’s best to put it in a quarter bag.

How big of toothpaste can you bring in a carry on baggage?

The size of the toothpaste that is considered suitable for you to bring in an airplane is 3.4 ounces.

In Europe and other countries, the size limit is 100 ml which is equivalent to 3.4 ounces.

You got to put the toothpaste in the suitable see-through bags that can be easily removed from your carry on very easily.

Also, so the people at the airport can inspect it very easily.

In some airports, a half-empty 6-ounce toothpaste will be confiscated and thrown away because it doesn’t comply with the rules set by the TSA.

The amount of toothpaste that you can bring

There is no restriction about the number of toothpaste tubes that you can bring as long as they comply with the 3-1-1 rule and they fit in the quarter bag.

However, if you bring a large number of toothpaste tubes, you will be asked to pay an import duty tax by the customs officers.

The amount of money to pay for an import duty tax differs from one country to another.

What if you carry too many toothpaste?

If you bring to many tubes of toothpaste without complying with the 3:1:1 rule, you run the risk of having them being thrown away.

You will also be late for your flight as there will be a delay when security check happens.

Other types of toothpaste that you can pack in a carry-on luggage

Toothpaste tablets

Yes, you can put toothpaste tablets in your carry on luggage.

So what exactly are toothpaste tablets?

Toothpaste tablets are identical to regular toothpaste but are in solid form. By just chewing on one tablet, it creates a foam that is identical to regular toothpaste.

Therefore, it can easily clean your teeth.

They don’t follow the 3-1-1 rule as they are solid instead of liquid so you can pack as them without the quart-sized bag.

Toothpaste tablets are especially great for backpackers and travelers as all they have to do is only chew on them.

Also, many are very environmentally friendly as they come in recyclable metal tubes that won’t hurt the environment.

Prescription toothpaste

Yes, you can pack as much as you want. If your toothpaste is medically prescribed, you can take any amount of toothpaste regardless of its size in your carry on luggage.

There are no rules regarding this type of toothpaste because it’s considered a medication that a person needs.

Because it’s considered a medication, you don’t have to put it in a quarter-sized bag.

Tips for traveling with liquids

1.) Write down a list

You have to write down a list of the liquids that you are going to take to be sure about what you are going to take.

It’s important to do so because you need to have all the items with you so you don’t forget anything that you need.

2.) Replace liquids with solids

Replace all liquids such as sunblock, sunscreen, conditioner, and soap with solids so you can have space and storage that you can put in it other things that you need.


Toothpaste is considered liquid by the TSA even though it’s a gel. The reason is that it can be easily pulled up through its container.

Not only does toothpaste come in liquid form, but it can also be a solid or as a medical toothpaste for people.

It’s important to follow the 3:1:1 rule so your toothpaste doesn’t get confiscated at the airport.

Toothpaste can be either carried in a carry on or checked baggage. However, the quantity differs from one bag to another.

Share your experience. Have you traveled with toothpaste in your carry on or checked baggage?

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