“Travel toothbrushes are smaller and easier to pack in small spaces,” says dentist Dr. Leslie Joseph-Messner, who traveled extensively through Alaska when she worked for the Indian Health Service. “A regular toothbrush can work fine, but size does matter when traveling. I carry a travel toothbrush regularly with me because you never know when your flight could be canceled, or if you need to brush after a meal.”
She recommends looking for the American Dental Association seal of approval when shopping for your travel toothbrush. Then consider size, foldability, voltage, antimicrobial properties, and manual versus electric models. No matter which one you choose, it’s imperative that you avoid mildew by drying out your travel toothbrush before you return it to its case.
Our favorite travel toothbrush is the Oral-B Genius X, which has high-tech features at an affordable price. We also have recommendations for the best disposable, kid-friendly, and sustainable options that may also be perfect for your travel style.
These are the best travel toothbrushes to keep your teeth healthy on the go:
Tips for Buying a Travel Toothbrush
Consider the benefits of manual versus electric
Although many manual toothbrushes are more portable than their electric counterparts, they lack advanced features that benefit your oral hygiene. According to an 11-year study of the long-term impact of electric toothbrushes versus manual ones, electric toothbrushes are more effective in preventing periodontitis and gingivitis because they can make thousands of strokes to brush away bacteria and plaque. They can massage your gums as well as clean hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Dentists advise that an electric toothbrush can limit the amount of pressure you apply on your teeth and gums. Many also come with timers to help you brush the full amount of time recommended by the American Dental Association and provide other feedback like what areas you missed brushing. However, because some require docking stations, cords, chargers, or batteries, many travelers opt for the manual toothbrush while away from home. When space is your main concern, choose something durable, easy-to-pack, foldable, or that comes with its own case.
Choose the right bristles for you
In general, soft bristles are good for sensitive teeth whereas some people feel cleaner after using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Regardless of what types of bristles you prefer, I highly recommend a case because bristles can easily be damaged if you throw your toothbrush into your luggage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring an electric toothbrush on a plane?
Yes, the TSA allows electric toothbrushes in your checked bags as long as they do not contain lithium-ion batteries. If it does contain a lithium-ion battery or you want to bring a spare lithium-ion battery, pack it in your carry-on baggage. You do not need to take out your electric toothbrush during the airport security check.
How should I pack a toothbrush for travel?
Always pack your toothbrush inside of a hard case in order to protect the bristles on your brush head. If you are traveling internationally, be sure to double check both voltage (printed on the base of your toothbrush charging stand) and plug type. Countries including the U.S., Barbados, Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico use 120-volt outlets with plug type A or B. Europe uses 220-240 volts with a two-pin plug type C and F in countries like France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, while the United Kingdom uses a type G. In general, Oral-B charging stations support 110-130 volts, which means you’ll need a step-down converter and a plug adapter. Sonicare charging stations support 100-240 volts, so you only need to worry about a plug adapter.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Leslie Hsu Oh, a veteran gear tester for Backpacker Magazine, Outside Magazine, Popular Mechanics, REIRunner’s World, Sierra Magazine, and T+L, believes that having a great experience outdoors depends on the quality and technical innovation of your gear. Known for the extremes with which she tests products in adventures, she’s lost and miraculously recovered an iPhone sealed inside of a Sea-to-Summit waterproof case for more than 36 hours beneath a powerful underground waterfall deep inside the Devil’s Cave in Brazil, canyoneered kits in Jordan’s Wadi Mujib during flash-flood season, and fished in Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent waters while pedaling Old Town and Ocean Kayak kayaks through mangroves.
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