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Watch out for spinach and rhubarb

Calcium oxalate is undissolvable in water

Hey, Matthew: What is it in raw spinach that makes your teeth feel gritty and funny? — Downtown Abe

Think spinach makes your teeth feel weird — dig into a dish of rhubarb, friend. Both spinach and rhubarb are rich in crystals of calcium oxalate, related to oxalic acid, part of the plant’s natural defense system. Calcium oxalate is undissolvable in water and in most milder forms of acid, so it will cling tenaciously to your teeth. You’ll not be surprised to hear that synthetic calcium oxalate is used in ceramic glazes. We can digest the crystals because our stomach juices are a dilute form of hydrochloric acid, about the only solvent for calcium oxalate. Another side note makes me wonder about the longevity of Popeye. Oxalic acid in quantity is poisonous; 10 to 20 pounds of spinach or rhubarb at one sitting would knock you cold.

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Hey, Matthew: What is it in raw spinach that makes your teeth feel gritty and funny? — Downtown Abe

Think spinach makes your teeth feel weird — dig into a dish of rhubarb, friend. Both spinach and rhubarb are rich in crystals of calcium oxalate, related to oxalic acid, part of the plant’s natural defense system. Calcium oxalate is undissolvable in water and in most milder forms of acid, so it will cling tenaciously to your teeth. You’ll not be surprised to hear that synthetic calcium oxalate is used in ceramic glazes. We can digest the crystals because our stomach juices are a dilute form of hydrochloric acid, about the only solvent for calcium oxalate. Another side note makes me wonder about the longevity of Popeye. Oxalic acid in quantity is poisonous; 10 to 20 pounds of spinach or rhubarb at one sitting would knock you cold.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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