What do the coloured stripes on your toothpaste tube indicate?

Coloured stripes on your toothpaste tube: Have you ever noticed the coloured stripes on the lower side of your toothpaste? Do you know what these stripes indicate? Don’t be misled by what you read on the social media about the significance of these coloured stripes. Read on to find out the truth.
Created On: Aug 3, 2017 11:40 IST
Modified On: Mar 9, 2020 17:20 IST
Coloured Stripe on Toothpaste
Coloured Stripe on Toothpaste

Have you ever noticed that at the bottom of most toothpastes there are some coloured stripes. Ever wondered what these coloured stripes indicate? Read on to find the truth about what these coloured stripes actually mean.

Social media and the Internet have many useful pieces of information for the general public. But we cannot blindly rely on this information, more so in this age of fake news and misinformation. 

One particular misinformation that is getting viral on social media pertains to the colorful markings that you see on the bottom of the toothpaste tube. It is claimed that these coloured markings show the chemical composition of the toothpaste. Let us find out the reality of this claim.

The coloured stripes story shows that the toothpaste that we use daily consists of at least one coloured stripe that may be blue, black, green or red. These stripes supposedly indicate the chemical composition of that  toothpaste as follows:
1. Black coloured stripe – Toothpaste is made only of chemicals

2. Blue coloured stripe – Natural + Medicine

3. Red coloured stripe – Natural + Chemical

4. Green coloured stripe – All Natural

Social media posts claim that the green stripe means that the toothpaste is made entirely of natural ingredients, the blue stripe means a mixture of natural ingredients and medicine, the red stripe denotes the natural ingredients and chemical elements in it, and the black stripe means that the toothpaste is made of chemical elements only.

Social media posts prohibit people from using a toothpaste with black or red stripes and encourage people to buy the toothpaste with green or blue coloured stripes.

So, what is the reality?

Globally, the following chemicals are commonly found in toothpastes:

1. Humectant material

2. Solid abrasive 

3. Binding material 

4. Sweetener

5. Flavoring agent

6. Surfactant

7. Fluorides

Apart from this, toothpastes also contain many types of colours and flavours.

The social media claims do not specify which of the above chemicals are there in the toothpaste and whether they are considered “Natural” or “Chemical”. 

The theory about distinguishing between “natural” and “chemical” ingredients is, at best, debatable because everything in this world is technically a chemical. Even all-natural ingredients are chemical ingredients and the word “medicine” is rather vague to specifically mean anything.  

Therefore, the best way to find out about the chemical composition of your toothpaste is to read the ingredients!

As for the coloured stripes, they are actually made during the manufacturing process. These stripes are read by sensors and machines to determine where packaging should be cut, folded or sealed.  

So, if you’re curious about the contents of your toothpaste, the coloured stripes on the bottom of the toothpaste are not what you should look at. Checking the ingredients mentioned on the toothpaste tube will be the right thing to do. 

Disclaimer: It was brought to our notice by a Facebook affiliated fact-checker, Lead Stories, that the information contained in this article was partly false. We reworked on the facts and republished the updated story as per the JNM corrections policy and editorial guidelines.   

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