FACT CHECK: Do The Colored Marks On Toothpaste Tubes Indicate The Materials Used In The Paste?
A post shared on Facebook over 380 times claims the colored marks on tubes of toothpaste indicate the materials used in the paste.
The colored bars on the tubes do not signify what ingredients are in the toothpaste. They are for sensors to help with proper sealing and artwork placement during manufacturing, according to spokespeople for toothpaste producers.
The image shows three tubes of toothpaste each with small, colored bars at the end of the tube. In the image, the colored bars are circled. “The secrets of the colors in #toothpaste,” the caption reads. “These colors are not for decoration, but the materials that were used to produce this paste.” The caption then suggests what each color bar means, with green allegedly indicating “100%” natural ingredients and black supposedly meaning chemicals are present.
The claim is false. The “What is a Toothpaste Color Code?” page on Colgate’s website explains that the colored bars are actually meant to “help in the manufacturing of the toothpaste tubes by telling light sensors where the end of the tube is so that it can be cut and sealed properly.” The page further notes that the “color-coding system simply doesn’t exist” and that toothpaste producers “don’t mark their toothpastes with colored squares to try to trick consumers and hide ingredients from them.”
A spokesperson for GSK, which manufactures Sensodyne toothpaste, said in an email to Check Your Fact that the bars “are for artwork alignment on our production lines and do not indicate what materials are used in the product.” (RELATED: No, This Image Does Not Show The Colosseum Carved Into A Real Tooth)
Velvet Gogol Bennett, a spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, which manufactures Crest toothpaste, also debunked the claim in an email to Check Your Fact.
“This topic has been circling the internet over the years and it is not true,” Bennett said, directing interested users to smartlabel.com for information about the company’s toothpaste ingredients.
In some instances, tubes may use different coloring aside from the four main colors to correspond with other sensors or machines, according to Healthline. The American Dental Association (ADA) said on its “Mouth Healthy” website that “all toothpastes contain the same general components,” including mild abrasive ingredients, detergent and flavoring agents.