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You might have heard about oxalic acid before and might even be worried what it does to your teeth. Oxalic acid is the compound present in spinach that causes that chalky, gritty feeling on your teeth after eating it. And while eating spinach and other oxalic acid-containing vegetables has a number of health benefits when added to your daily diet, you might be wondering if it does good effects for your teeth as much as it does to your body. Very well then, let’s see!
What is Oxalic Acid?
Oxalic acid, as its name suggests, is an acid. This acid is can tightly bond with calcium in your saliva, forming into tiny crystals that can’t be dissolved in water. However, oxalic acid is rated around 6pH – more on the neutral pH scale than acidic; therefore, oxalic acid has lesser to no negative effect on your dental health, unlike most acids. It does not leach calcium from your teeth like some people believe, and it is highly unlikely to erode tooth enamel.
Oxalic Acid in Spinach
The calcium binding properties of oxalic acid found in spinach cause them to cover tiny crystals on the surfaces of your teeth, causing you to feel the grainy, fuzzy feeling around your teeth. This is relatively the same principle behind many dental treatments for tooth sensitivity you receive from your dentist. In fact, oxalic acid can actually help reduce tooth sensitivity once included in your diet and can help plug up dentinal tubules where the root of your teeth sensitivity starts.
Is it safe?
Oxalic acid is safe for your teeth, as well as for braces, dental implants, and dentures. However, if you happen to be at a high risk of kidney stones, you should be careful of your oxalic acid intake. Consuming food with high oxalic acid can lead to a transformation of calcium oxalate stones, a major cause of kidney stones. Try to limit your consumption of foods with high level of acids such as rhubarb, strawberries, chocolate, and spinach to name a few.