Just because you are traveling on a plane, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal hygiene. For some people, maintaining a high level of oral hygiene means utilizing a waterpik and water flossing on a regular basis.
But can you bring a waterpik on a plane? And if so, what restrictions apply?
In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the TSA rules for bringing a waterpik on a plane and getting it through airport security.
Table of Contents
Can you bring a waterpik on a plane?
Yes, you can bring a waterpik on a plane as a carry-on item or even a checked bag item. However, you need to make sure that you are in compliance with the TSA Liquids Rule.
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Different types of water flossers
Generally speaking, there are four different types of water flossers:
- Shower Flosser
- Faucet Flosser
- Cordless or Battery-Operated
Since you are probably not bringing a sink or shower with you through airport security, we’ll just focus on the latter two types.
Travel-sized waterpik (Cordless or Battery-Operated)
Water flossers can be quite bulky and so when traveling you probably want to use a travel-size waterpik.
Utilizing a battery powered, cordless waterpik will just make life a lot easier because the device will free up room in your luggage.
The drawback is that many of these don’t provide the same level of pressure that you would get with a countertop water flosser.
They also may not have as many pressure levels or special features like pulsation that can be pretty effective at loosening debris between your teeth.
So you have to decide what matters to you the most: convenience or effectiveness.
Full-sized waterpik (Countertop)
A full-size waterpik is going to be a pretty bulky device but there’s still no reason why you could not bring that through airport security.
People bring much larger devices like PlayStations through security so the size of it should not be a problem.
If you’re planning on using your water flosser during your flight you probably don’t want to be lugging around a countertop flosser.
Bringing a waterpik through security as a carry-on
Waterpiks have a reservoir that stores water and if you know anything about TSA security rules, you know that there are pretty strict rules about bringing liquids on a plane.
Basically there is something called the TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule which states that you can only bring liquids in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces and that all of your liquids must fit “comfortably” into one clear, quart size bag.
This means that if you bring liquid (water) in the reservoir of your waterpik you are most likely violating the liquids rule.
If you have TSA Pre-Check, you will not have to remove your liquids from your carry-on and so sometimes the TSA agents could be more lenient.
With TSA Pre-Check you can also take advantage of several benefits including things like:
- Shoes can stay on
- Belt can stay on
- Light jackets can stay on
- Laptops allowed to stay in bag
But still, TSA Pre-Check or not, if you are caught bringing liquids in violation of the TSA Liquids Rule you will hold up the security line and be forced to step aside and pour out your liquids.
In some cases, this could lead to a more exhaustive (and uncomfortable) search of your belongings and of your person.
Your waterpik probably will not be confiscated but it will make your dealings at airport security a little bit more stressful and time-consuming.
So the best advice is to empty the water container from your waterpik before going through airport security. This way, your waterpik will NOT be subject to the liquids rule and it will be treated just like any other device.
Since waterpiks are a somewhat lesser known hygiene product it’s possible that after it goes through an x-ray machine an agent may have questions for you like, “What the heck is this thing?”
It will probably be rare but just be prepared to explain what the waterpik is in case you run into a curious agent.
Bringing a waterpik in checked baggage
If you want to bring a waterpik in your checked baggage, you would be allowed to bring it with liquid inside the reservoir.
However, that’s probably not a great idea because your luggage could get knocked around and you could easily spill water on all of the contents of your luggage.
So it would be a much smarter decision to empty out the reservoir before putting it in your checked baggage.
Note: If you have a portable waterpik that is battery powered you might want to also ensure that you are not putting your water flosser in your checked baggage if it has lithium ion batteries.
Using your water flosser on a plane
If you’re trying to maintain a high level of dental hygiene while on your flight you might think about using your water floss during the flight, especially if you are on a long-haul flight or you were dealing with some type of orthodontic issues after eating.
Using a waterpik on the flight presents a couple of difficulties so it’s a good idea to practice some decency when using it.
The first question you should ask yourself is should you even use it on a plane?
Is it really that important for you to water floss your teeth on the plane or can you simply wait until you arrive at your destination?
Water flossing can get messy (especially when you might be dealing with unexpected turbulence for the close and awkward confines of an airplane lavatory).
That means that you could potentially leave a wet mess in the lavatory that other passengers would not appreciate.
This should be common sense to most but just in case you were wondering: under no circumstances should you use it at your seat!
Even if you devised a way to capture the overflowing water, I can assure you that no passenger would appreciate getting squirted by water coming out of your mouth or even having to witness such a thing.
Depending on the type of flosser that you have, there’s also potential to drench your surroundings with water which is just not something that is a good idea on a plane.
Also, some waterpiks can actually be pretty noisy.
If you do decide to use your waterpik inside the lavatory, you could fill up your water flosser with water from the lavatory’s sink but I would not recommend that.
That water may be clean enough for washing your hands but I would definitely not want that water inside my mouth.
For that reason, you are much better off bringing a water bottle so that you can utilize 100% clean water.
You should have no problem bringing an electric toothbrush through airport security and on to a plane.
Toothpaste is allowed on the plane but it will be subject to the TSA liquid rules which just means you need to find a package under 3.4 ounces. That’s not hard to do because you can easily find a travel size container of your favorite brand.
In some cases you may have a medical issue that requires prescription toothpaste.
Some of these containers may be larger than 3.4 ounces which means that technically they are in violation of the liquid rule.
However, TSA makes exceptions for medical products and will allow you to bring liquids in higher quantities than 3.4 ounces.
It will help if you have your prescription with you and can articulate that your toothpaste is medically prescribed so as to remind the TSA agent that the liquids rule does not apply to it.
However, TSA does not require you to carry prescriptions on you all the time.
Other hygiene products
We’ve also published articles on bringing some other hygiene products that you might be curious about:
- Can You Bring Shampoo (Liquid or Dry) On a Plane?
- Can You Bring Deodorant on a Plane?
- Can you bring a razor on a plane?
Bringing a water flosser through airport security and onto a plane is pretty straightforward.
You just need to make sure that you have emptied the reservoir before bringing your device and that you are not storing lithium ion batteries in your checked baggage.
Also, just be very mindful not to make a mess if using the flosser in the lavatory.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.