The Odd Reason You Can Never Find This Bathroom Essential In A Hotel Room

When you check into a hotel, you get the benefits of home comforts without having to do any of those annoying things, like washing the sheets or making sure you have enough toilet paper. You can show up with just the clothes on your back and you'll have everything you need — except for toothpaste. Even in over-the-top luxury resorts, you may find that you need to bring your own.


It's not that toothpaste isn't equally necessary for your bathroom experience compared to the items they do provide, like shampoo and conditioner. It's arguably even more essential than some things found in hotel bathrooms, like a shoe mitt or cotton balls. But it seems like it comes down to the higher cost of toothpaste compared to those other items.

The higher price point for toothpaste has to do, at least partly, with the fact that it's not purely a cosmetic item like other toiletries. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) classifies toothpaste with fluoride as both a cosmetic and a drug, so there are more costs associated with its production. When compared ounce to ounce to something like a body wash that doesn't have those same regulations, toothpaste is more expensive.


AAA doesn't care if toothpaste is included in hotel bathrooms

It also may have to do with the fact that toothpaste is not a requirement with AAA, the hotel rating system for properties in North America that's been around since 1937. While hotels can get slightly higher ratings by, among other things, having toothpaste on demand or for purchase for guests, basic AAA approval doesn't require toothpaste at all.


Instead, hotels might be putting their energy elsewhere beyond providing toothpaste for every guest. The higher bathroom ratings on the AAA Guidelines (up into the five AAA diamond territory) involve having a "luxurious selection of fashionable bath products." There are bespoke lotion and soap brands that people recognize as fashionable — like the signature Le Labo products at Fairmont hotels or Malin + Goetz at Le Méridien properties. There really isn't a toothpaste brand with quite the same cachet, so it just doesn't get the same attention. "Toothpaste has always been a secondary consideration within hospitality," Tim Kersley, Gilchrist & Soames senior vice president, told Slate.

Toothpaste isn't refillable in the way other toiletries are

Another potential reason toothpaste doesn't make the cut when it comes to bathroom amenities is that they're not efficiently refillable. In recent years, several hotel brands have pivoted away from single-use toiletries and towards bulk, refillable options to boost their sustainability efforts.


Even if hotels were to leave regular-size toothpaste for guests in an attempt to help eliminate waste, those seem likely to either get taken from the room or not used at all since using toothpaste from the same tube as a bunch of strangers is not all that appealing.

With all of that, you might be worried that if you remembered your electric toothbrush but forgot to add toothpaste to your travel toiletry bag, you're out of luck. But it's worth calling the front desk and asking if they have any. Some hotel brands, like Hyatt, will gladly give you free travel toothpaste and even a toothbrush if you need one. You just have to ask.