The Real Reason Spinach Gets Caught In Your Teeth

One of the biggest social dilemmas of our time is whether or not to tell someone if they have food on their face or stuck in their teeth. This predicament affects everyday people and celebrities alike. For example, Nick Jonas was embarrassed after finding out he had spinach stuck in his teeth during his 2020 Grammy's performance (via The Hollywood Reporter). He addressed the spinach mishap on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (via YouTube) and revealed that the food had been stuck there since breakfast, and no one bothered to tell him. He told Jimmy Fallon that when he got off stage, he got a text from Adam Levine complimenting his performance; he also referenced the "schmutz" in his teeth.

To add insult to injury, he learned that his brothers, Kevin and Joe, had checked each other's teeth before the performance and left him out. There are a few lessons here. The first is to always check your teeth before the Grammys, and the second is that spinach is a stubborn little vegetable. Luckily, there's a way to prevent embarrassing scenarios like this. 

It's basically a science experiment in your mouth

Nick Jonas didn't know that science was working against him when he decided to have spinach for breakfast. According to Medical News Today, spinach and other greens contain a high concentration of oxalic acid. When we chew spinach, the oxalic acid and calcium from the spinach combine to form calcium oxalate. The byproduct forms tiny crystals in the mouth, creating a sticky texture on your teeth that may solidify. If calcium oxalate sounds familiar, it's because it is the same compound that forms kidney stones.

If you want to eat spinach but avoid the icky feeling, The Kitchn recommends not mixing the spinach with dairy because that introduces more calcium to the equation. They also recommend cooking the spinach or adding lemon juice, which, according to Medical News Today, helps dissolve the oxalic acid. We hope Nick Jonas seeks the help of Kevin and Joe before going on stage next time.