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ben's avatar

Why does eating spinach make my teeth feel dry and scratchy?

Asked by ben (7961 points ) July 23rd, 2007

Other people feel this, too, right? I'm not sure if it happens with other leafy veggies, but eating lots of steamed spinach always makes my teeth feel weird. Why?

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30 Answers

segdeha's avatar

I eat a lot of spinach and I've felt this, too. I also felt it once after eating a whole pineapple (I was in college, what can I say?). Anyway, the pineapple thing I explained as being due to its acidic nature. I'm not sure about spinach.

gailcalled's avatar

Try adding minced steamed garlic, lemon juice and grated nutmeg. I eat tons of spinach and have never noticed anything. Only w. cooked asparagus :-d

sarahsugs's avatar

I always assumed that the spinach leaves some sort of residue on one's teeth. I get it from raw as well as cooked spinach.

Jill_E's avatar

try cooking it with canola oil or olive oil and garlic. Good question on why it is scratchy.

sfgal's avatar

I feel it too--but I don't know why.

gooch's avatar

wow I eat it alot mostly raw and I have never felt that

trifler's avatar

I think it retains some of the dirt from the garden .

zina's avatar

my guess too --- spinach particularly has lots of sand/dust on it. the only way i've avoided this is by washing it incredibly thoroughly before eating. my grandma's trick is to put it in a bowl of water (and i guess shake and stir it like crazy) then wait a while and the sand will all settle to the bottom, and you can ever so gently remove the spinach from the top.

joli's avatar

I read recently that all vegetables should be ingested with a bit of oil, hence salad dressings, as it induces proper digestion; plant matter with a bit of fat. Green plant matter is fibrous and dry so it sticks to anything, not just teeth.

helena's avatar

Yes. Yuck. I definitely know the feeling. My guess is it's the oxalic acid, an irritant to the mouth and the digestive tract. It can really scratch the place up, especially if you eat it with milk products. During digestion, oxalic acid can combine with other molecules to form shardy, crystalline nasties that contribute to kidney stones (a.k.a. calcium oxalate), gout or arthritis. Especially if you are genetically predisposed to those conditions.

tiffburroughs's avatar

Oh my gosh it has nothing to do with dirt or sand or dust being on the spinach! It is only because spinach contains oxalic acid, which combines with the calcium in your saliva to produce the wierd feeling on your teeth. Rhubarb, chard and beetroot leaves do the same thing.

ranchpark's avatar

THAT is HILARIOUS. I googled “spinach teeth” (or something of the sort) to see if I could find it out, and I’ll be darned…someone else has the same sensation. Who’d thunk?

I’m a little concerned about the acid/kidneystone, arthritis thing. Any suggestions on how to avoid this problem and still gain the benefits of eating spinach?

:-)

ranchpark's avatar

PS: I like the idea of cooking with a little oil and nutmeg. Sounds yummy!

gailcalled's avatar

The GREAT spinach triumvirate is oil, freshly grated nutmeg and minced garlic.

bee's avatar

wow, i’m not the only one whoe experiences “spinach teeth”!

I ate a larger than normal amount today, so I’m feeling the dryness now.
Note to self, if you don’t wanna add oil to spinach, then eat less than 100grams. Maybe there’s only so much oxalic acid one can take before too much calcium oxalate is formed.
It’s quite clever that the dryness stops us eating before we start getting kidney stones!

bee's avatar

on second thought..forget the last sentence…

But do you think there’s a reason why we get a strange scratchy, dry feeling on our teeth? Or maybe there doesn’t need to be a reason..it just happens.

Kris_Anderson's avatar

when it’s overcooked, spinach can acquire a strong, acidic flavor and leave your mouth feeling dry. http://www.finecooking.com/articles/new-spinach-salads.aspx

kihara's avatar

Cause, Spinach is iron included nutrient.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked spinach provides ~3.5mg of iron whereas a cup of raw spinach only contains 1 mg of iron.

Futomara's avatar

You’re supposed to wash the sand out first.

EROSONOSARA's avatar

I really like spinach and it makes a strange sensation on my teeth teeth too! Almost like they are being etched I am worried it could be damaging the enamel.

martellotowers's avatar

I think,of all the suggestions,the one that makes the most sense was the iron content theory put forward by kihara.It certainly explains the (what I would call) metallic taste left in the mouth.But hey,until a professor of spinach related concerns can either confirm or deny this.Then it’s just a theory.

Ltryptophan's avatar

This happens after I eat Jiffy cornbread.

hwk's avatar

Oxalic acid. Same goes for rhubarb. Eating yoghurt or drinking milk after you’ve had spinach or rhubarb seems to help (because of the calcium).

leacr's avatar

One way to get rid if the scratchiness is to parboil the spinach, that is, to boil it briefly once before cooking it, however you are planning to cook it.

newtscamander's avatar

@gailcalled how do you mince garlic? I’d like to try that!

gailcalled's avatar

^^^Either you buy an expensive but silly garlic mincer, or you use a sharp chef’s knife, like this.

It is similar to mincing an onion. You slice the clove very thinly in one direction; then turn and slice very thinly in the other direction, minding the knuckles of the non-knife wielding hand.

newtscamander's avatar

Thanks, could have deducted that from knowing what minced meat is, but that’s just where my English failed today, I guess.

gailcalled's avatar

Your English seems excellent to me.

Mincing is the same as finely dicing.

newtscamander's avatar

Thank you, it’s just that because I don’t use it on a daily basis or live in a country where it is the national language, there can be vocabulary I stumble across and have to look up.

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