Toothpaste Terrorism – The Traveler’s Solution

Feb 07,2014

Toothpaste tubes have now joined the ranks of water bottles, hand lotion, facial cream, hand sanitizer - you know, the things that are highly suspect going through airport security. The items that may not make it with you onto the airplane. Items that we think of as our personal belongings, but send up a red flag as potential security threats.

As recently as yesterday, CNN reported that Homeland Security was advising airlines with direct flights serving Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste tubes. ( This is directly concerning the Olympics which are beginning in Sochi, Russia. Those athletes, fans, media people - they all need to brush, don't they?

It is hard enough convincing my patients to continue their oral hygiene practices while traveling, but this really makes things complicated. (Although I have to say that just this week a patient of mine told me that he was climbing a mountain in New Zealand, and he did not bring his toothbrush and paste but did bring dental floss! Good for him) I understand that the threat is the idea that an explosive can be put into the toothpaste tube itself. Really? That has to be one giant size tube of dentifrice! What will become of oral hygiene? Will we become a society too afraid to travel with toothpaste?

A few ideas came to mind. I want people to still brush when they travel. Well, back in the day, one of the best dentifrices used was old fashioned baking soda. Although this would eliminate the suspicious toothpaste tube, unless you took an entire box of baking soda with you, carrying a small container of the white powder is also highly suspicious. So that would not be a good alternative at all.

You could purchase toothpaste when you get to your destination. But I doubt many people would take the time to do that, and there probably would be a run on toothpaste, causing the prices to soar.

But there is a alternative. It is cost effective, does not involve a tube, is not even a paste. It is toothpaste tablets. I was able to try these last year at a dental convention. You chew a tablet, brush, and rinse. They taste great, and are reminiscent of that candy in the 1980's - PopRocks. They effervesce in your mouth. You can buy them online, Archtek Toothpaste Tablets.

No paste, no problem. Get some tablets and keep them in your travel bag. Brush, floss and be safe!