One hoax that has been making the rounds has to do with toothpaste and the colorful markings you see on the bottoms of the tubes. These posts warn people to pay attention to a toothpaste color code, claiming that the marks on the bottom of the tubes revealed what was in the toothpastes.
As it turns out, those marks mean something else entirely.
According to several websites and social media posts, the claim is that the little squares you see on the bottom of a tube of a toothpaste are some sort of toothpaste color code, revealing the nature of the materials within. The post claims that:
- a green mark means the toothpaste is all natural,
- a blue mark means it contains a mix of natural ingredients and medicine,
- a red mark means it contains natural ingredients and chemical ingredients,
- and a black mark means it contains all chemical ingredients.
The posts warn people away from using toothpastes with black or red marks and encourage people to pick toothpastes with green or blue ones.
The color code story gets a few things wrong. One is that it makes a distinction between “natural” and “chemical” ingredients.
As Scientific American helpfully points out, everything in the world is technically a chemical. Even all natural ingredients are chemical ingredients. Another issue is that it doesn’t really explain what “medicine” is. Is it referring to fluoride, the mineral that’s often added to toothpaste to help protect against cavities? There’s no way to know.
The bigger issue with the color code hoax is that it’s not accurate information. Companies don’t mark their toothpaste tubes with little colored squares in an attempt to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes.
In fact, as Snopes points out, the reason for the marks has to do with how toothpaste tubes are made. The marks help light sensors detect the end of the tube, so that the machines used to prepare the tubes knows where to cut or seal them.
So indeed, all the claims are completely false. You don’t have to worry if you forgot to check the colors that were printed at the bottom of the tube of your toothpaste anymore before purchasing them. It is all safe to use!