Spinach has a lot of nice qualities. It’s full of iron, it makes a great base for tasty salad, and it can be pureed and sneakily added to almost anything. But, with all the good aspects of this leafy green comes one off-putting side effect. Every time you eat it, your poor teeth are left feeling, well, weird. If there’s one way to make ourselves feel more comfortable dealing with odd side effects, though, it’s by trying to understand the cause. Recently, we learned what in the world is up with this “spinach teeth” — yes that's really what it's called —phenomenon, and it has done wonders to put our minds at ease.
The Huffington Post reports that spinach teeth is experienced by most people when they eat this particular green, and it’s actually caused by spinach’s high levels of oxalic acid. According Jennifer Moltoni, the administrative coordinator at Harvard School of Dental Medicine's Department of Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity, the oxalic acid combines with the calcium in your saliva when you chew spinach. That causes the formation of calcium oxalate crystals, and that's what stick to your teeth, giving them a chalky feel.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way to avoid the gritty feeling when eating spinach, although, ChowHound did report that pairing a glass of milk with your spinach could make it worse, since milk adds even more calcium into the equation. Noted. So, while you may not be able to escape spinach teeth, you can make sure to use the green in delicious recipes so that that chalky feeling is well-worth it.