Taste

So THAT'S Why Spinach Makes Your Teeth Feel Weird

"Spinach teeth" is a real thing.
03/15/2017 06:01am ET

There’s one thing we don’t love about spinach, and that’s the strange, chalky feeling it leaves on your teeth after you eat a salad made with this leafy green.

If you’ve ever wondered what that sensation is, know that it’s not just you. “Spinach teeth” is a real thing, and it is a result of the high quantities of oxalic acid found in this leafy green.

Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring chemical found in plants ― but spinach tends to have higher amounts of it. Oxalic acid is referred to as a antinutrient, because it can bond with minerals and block the body’s ability to absorb those nutrients. In the case of spinach, that nutrient is calcium.

Jennifer Moltoni -- administrative coordinator at the Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine ― told Chowhound that when you chew spinach, the calcium in your saliva combines with the oxalic acid, and then calcium oxalate crystals are created. It is those crystals that stick to your teeth and make it feel gritty.

"It's almost like tiny crystals are floating around in your mouth, so that's what gives it that unusual feeling and texture," Jim Correll, professor of plant and pathology from Arkansas University, explained to Live Science. And that’s all that feeling is.

There isn’t anything you can do to minimize that feeling, so just accept it and eat all the spinach you want. (Unless of course you have a tendency to form kidney stones. If that’s the case, talk to your doctor because it’s best to avoid a diet rich in oxalic acids.)

Now that you know embrace the green with these recipes below:

1
Spinach And Artichoke Melt
Half Baked Harvest
Get the Spinach And Artichoke Melt recipe from Half Baked Harvest
2
Killer Spinach Salads With Hot Bacon Dressing
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3
Whole Wheat Spinach And Artichoke Pizza
Half Baked Harvest
Get the Whole Wheat Spinach and Artichoke Pizza recipe from Half Baked Harvest
4
15-Minute Spinach Burrata Omelet
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Get the 15-Minute Spinach Burrata Omelet recipe from How Sweet It Is
5
Mango Spinach Smoothie
Half Baked Harvest
Get the Mango Spinach Smoothie recipe from Half Baked Harvest
6
Zucchini Noodles With Mini Chicken Feta And Spinach Meatballs
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7
Spinach Bisque
Naturally Ella
Get the Spinach Bisque recipe from Naturally Ella
8
Hummus And Spinach Dip
Naturally Ella
Get the Hummus And Spinach Dip recipe from Naturally Ella
9
Spinach Enchiladas With Lentils
Naturally Ella
Get the Spinach Enchiladas with Lentils recipe from Naturally Ella