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Toothpaste on the trail

Have you ever wondered how long a travel-size tube of toothpaste should last? We did the research so you will know.

Paul Bodnar      Tech on the Trail       11/19/2019
Paul Bodnar
Tech on the Trail
11/19/2019

How long will a travel-size tube of toothpaste last on a long-distance hike (or any other circumstance for that matter)? We analyzed four different tubes of travel-sized toothpaste to find out. We measured overall weight of the new tubes and then weighed various quantities of toothpaste to illustrate what different volumes of toothpaste looks like.

The American Dental Association recommends a pea-size amount of toothpaste, which is about 0.25 grams of toothpaste.  From this data we were able to calculate the theoretical number of uses in each tube of toothpaste.

 

Read our other blog post on dental hygiene:

Blog Post: The One Piece of Gear You Never Knew You Needed

Four types of toothpaste in small tubes.

Four common travel-size toothpaste tubes.

Weighing Toothpaste

A scale with a little bit of toothpaste on it.

I used a calibrated balance to weigh the toothpaste. Here you can see 0.515 grams of toothpaste, which is a larger volume of toothpaste than recommended by the American Dental Association.

How much toothpaste should I use?

Measuring the amount of toothpaste on a toothbrush.

This large application of toothpaste (0.80 grams) is more than three times the application recommended by the American Dental Association. This overuse of toothpaste will deplete a travel-size (24 grams) tube of toothpaste in about two weeks when brushing twice a day.

Measuring the amount of toothpaste on a toothbrush.

This pea-size application (0.25 grams) of toothpaste is the amount recommended by the American Dental Association.  This is the optimal amount of toothpaste to use and will deplete a travel-size (24 grams) tube of toothpaste in about 48 days, or almost 7 weeks, when brushing twice a day.

Measuring the amount of toothpaste on a toothbrush.

This medium application of toothpaste (0.52 grams) is more than two times the application recommended by the American Dental Association.  This overuse of toothpaste will deplete a travel-size (24 gram) tube of toothpaste in about three weeks when brushing twice a day.

Measuring the amount of toothpaste on a toothbrush.

This tiny application (0.08 grams) of toothpaste should not be used because it is less than the American Dental Association recommended amount.

Toothpaste Stats by Brand

Conclusion

Different brands of travel-size toothpaste tubes are very similar. Any one of them should last for about 48 days if you use the recommended pea-sized amount twice a day. ( To determine the number of applications for your tube of toothpaste, take the content weight in grams and divide by 0.25.)

Money-saving Refill Tip

You can save money by refilling your travel toothpaste tube from a larger toothpaste tube.

Squeezing one toothpaste into another toothpaste tube.

Place the empty travel toothpaste tube firmly against the larger toothpaste tube. Gently squeeze the larger toothpaste tube to transfer the toothpaste.


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Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.