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I have 2 tubes of medicinal toothpaste that I have to take on a flight and I only have hand luggage.

They're in standard sized tubes. The box says 51g, which apparently means 51 ml and is less than the 100ml size limit for each container, which should be okay.

Am I right on this? I should be able to take these 2 normal-sized toothpaste tubes without trouble?

If so, why do these tiny, travel-sized toothpastes exist?

Update: I went through with no issues. I had the toothpaste still in its boxes in a little clear plastic bag...which I forgot to take out of my backpack. I didn't even get stopped at the scanner.

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    @ZachLipton The box won't necessarily give the volume, but 51g of toothpaste will be far less than 100ml (and, from the experiment i did, I'd say less than 40ml). – David Richerby Jul 14 '17 at 9:15
  • @DavidRicherby Fair point. My full size toothpaste tubes at home are 6oz, so I'm used to thinking of them as substantially larger. – Zach Lipton Jul 14 '17 at 9:29
  • @ZachLipton containers giving both weight and volume are quite rare. I don't remember ever seeing one. – phoog Jul 14 '17 at 13:05
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    @phoog Ben and Jerry's ice-cream in the UK is marked with weight and volume. Unfortunately, the volume is more than 100ml, so you can't take it on the plane. – David Richerby Jul 14 '17 at 13:41
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    @DavidRicherby but if the security line moves quickly enough, it might still be solid when you get to the screeners. Also, on a UK grocery website, I found "mini tubs" in packages of 4 100-ml containers. – phoog Jul 14 '17 at 16:16
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It will be OK. I travel often with only hand laggage and never had problems with standard tooth paste tubes.

why do these tiny travel sized tooth pastes exist?

100ml limit per container is not the only limit for liquids. The assembled volume of all pieces may not be more than 1000ml (in Europe) or about 950ml (in USA). And if you have not only tooth paste but also shampoo, shaving gel, after shave lotion etc. you can easily have more than 1000 ml. That's where a travel tooth paste tube may help to reduce the total volume.

  • "Why do these tiny travel sized tooth pastes exist?" - because it's easier to travel with smaller items (toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, etc) than the full-sized versions. For toothpaste I just take the small samples the dentist gives out. – sirjonsnow Jul 17 '17 at 18:43
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This will be absolutely fine.

A simple test is to see if your toothpaste floats in water: squeeze a little toothpaste out of the tube and put it in a glass of water. If it sinks, it has a density greater than water, which is 1g per ml, which means that the volume of your 51g tube is less than 51ml. If the toothpaste floats with half or more of the toothpase above the water's surface, then your tube would have a volume of greater than 100ml. But I tried this just now with two different toothpastes and both sank easily.

The tiny travel-sized tubes exist just for people's convenience. Somebody who's only away for a week might not want to make space in their toiletry bag for a large tube. Or they might want to bring several different liquids in their carry-on and not want to fill so much of their clear plastic bag with toothpaste.

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    The tiny travel-sized tubes exist just for people's convenience. Exactly! Travel-sized toothpaste (and mouthwash, and shampoo, and contact lens solution...) have been around much longer than the ridiculous ban on carry-on liquids. – Mike Harris Jul 14 '17 at 18:23
  • Not sure how relevant this really is. As far as getting through security in a timely fashion, I would expect that a number lower than 100 on the package is much more useful than knowing the density of toothpaste (even if it refers to a mass and could therefore correspond to very different volumes). – Relaxed Jul 17 '17 at 9:18
  • @Relaxed It's relevant because it allows the asker to be confident that their toothpaste is OK. The people at the security checkpoint wll know what a 100ml tube of toothpaste looks like and will easily recognize that the asker's tubes are much smaller than that. – David Richerby Jul 18 '17 at 23:05

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