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What Causes "Spinach Teeth"

Why Does Spinach Make My Teeth Feel Funky?

Do you ever eat a fresh spinach salad and find your teeth feeling strange and chalky? You're not alone. "Spinach teeth" is caused by the high quantities of oxalic acid found in spinach. The oxalate crystals leak out from spinach as you chew, and these crystals coat the teeth, which results in that gritty feeling.

And it doesn't just come from spinach! Rhubarb, beets, kale, and chocolate are high in oxalic acid as well. Beyond that strange dental sensation, this acid increase your risk of oxalate stones in the kidneys, so people with a predisposition for such issues should steer clear of eating large amounts of spinach.

The oxalic acid contained in spinach can also prevent your body from absorbing iron. To improve iron absorption, spinach should be eaten with foods that contain vitamin C. So the next time you're chowing down on some cooked spinach, be sure to squeeze a little fresh lemon on top!

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
Nancy-Einhart Nancy-Einhart 3 years
I have wondered this for YEARS.
AlliesAnswers AlliesAnswers 9 years
Wow! I thought I was alone in this too! It drives me crazy. It doesn't happen to me as much with frozen spinach or regular spinach, but baby spinach does it every time.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
NO WONDER! I thought I was going crazy when me teeth felt weird after eating spinach....
diorbaby diorbaby 9 years
eeew!
bellanatella bellanatella 9 years
My teeth actually feel that way when I eat lemons...is that weird, or is it normal?
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 9 years
wow I thought I was the only one who got that feeling while eating spinach. thanks!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
what about fresh pineapple teeth/tongue? what causes that?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
I can't eat spinach! yay for no spinach teeth!
mrsyuen mrsyuen 10 years
Thanks Fitsugar, I always think it was the iron that makes your teeth feel funny.
CamillaCat CamillaCat 10 years
I eat enough chocolate that I'm surprised I don't have 'chocolate teeth' ;) since it has the same ingredient
Feesje Feesje 10 years
I didn't know that about the iron thing. I've always been told to eat a lot of spinach for the iron, but now it turns out that the spinach itself is preventing the iron to get absorbed? Weird. I did know that vitamine C helps to absorb the iron. And I can tell you that it does work.
bonbonfay bonbonfay 10 years
I've always wondered! Thanks for covering this...I guess my mom's delicious spinach/strawberry salad really makes sense!
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