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The Truth Behind The Toothpaste Tube Color Band

Written By Dr. Kyle Griffith

The vast trove of information found on the Internet is amazing. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate being able to have a question answered quickly with just a quick Google search. But with great power comes great responsibility. For all the credible websites out there, there are a portion of websites that do nothing except prey on people's fear and lack of knowledge. I recently came across a website that discussed the solid band of color found at the end of a tube of toothpaste. This post made the claim that the band of color indicated how "healthy" the toothpaste was for you. Humor me as I summarize the claims associated with each band of color:

Green: All natural (Supposedly, this is the "Fountain of Youth" toothpaste.)

Blue: Toothpaste is natural but contains medicine (Hmm - What medicine? Cialis?)

Red: Natural, but contains chemicals (Oh, the irony!)

Black: All chemicals (Think: radioactive fallout or Agent Orange.)

Now, at the time I did not know the purpose of the band of color, but I thought surely this website could not possibly be making true claims. This, unfortunately, was not the sentiment expressed by the number of people posting comments to the site. Luckily, I have inside access to the world of packaging. The "world of packaging," you might ask? Yes, almost everything you buy comes in some sort of packaging and someone put thought and creativity into the construction and design of the package. The following is a loose transcript of the conversation I had with Joel, a Package Development Engineer, concerning the burning question of the toothpaste tube and color band. Joel graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Packaging. His background includes developing packaging for personal care products and serving as a project manager for a package printing company.

Dr. Griffith: Hi Joel, do you know anything about this color band issue with toothpaste tubes and the types of ingredients?

Joel: What? What are you talking about?

Dr. Griffith: You know, the solid color band found at the end of a tube of toothpaste where it is crimped and sealed, at the butt of the toothpaste tube.

Joel: Yeah, great description, but I still don't know what you're talking about.

Dr. Griffith: Ok, please do a quick search about this and get back with me.

5 minutes pass:

Joel: You have got to be kidding me! No way! The idea that the color band is telling you about the contents of the toothpaste, is hilarious. At first I thought the websites were kidding but then I realized some people were serious.

Dr. Griffith: So why is there a color band? What's the point?

Joel: The color band you are referring to is known in the industry as the "eye mark". When a toothpaste tube is filled, it is filled through the end opposite the cap. After filling, the tube is rotated until a photo eye senses the eye mark. Then a machine seals the end of the tube. The purpose of the eye mark is to orient the tube seal to the graphics on the front of the package. The color used for the eye mark is most often a major color in the graphics and needs strong contrast from the background color of the tube.
It is as simple as that. Sorry, there is no conspiracy here. I cannot believe how worked up people were getting over this! Who spends their time making this stuff up?

Dr. Griffith: Thanks Joel, I greatly appreciate your expertise. Do you know anything about the color bands on floss? Just kidding!

There you have it folks, straight from a packaging insider. THE COLOR BAND ON A TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE IS NOT A SECRET CODE!!

Kyle Griffith DMD
7090 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO. 80224
313-758-5252
www.58dental.com
info@58dental.com