Calcium Isn’t Just Good for Bones—It Benefits Your Smile Too!

WE’VE ALL BEEN TOLD (and many of us tell our children) that milk builds strong bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time. Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t.

Regardless of your take, you’re not alone. Today, millions of people follow vegan or vegetarian diets, and tens of millions of people are lactose intolerant. Whether or not you choose to avoid dairy for health or other personal reasons, here are some thoughts from our team.

Calcium and Vitamin D Play a Key Role in Oral Health

It’s true that dairy products are full of calcium, and often supplemented with vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium and other bone-building minerals). While people on specialized diets (including vegans and vegetarians) are typically very careful about eating healthy, there’s still a risk of calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

One of the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your mouth’s defenses may be down.

Need a Good Source of Calcium? Dairy Isn’t the Only Option!

The good news is that, if you choose, you can get these nutrients from alternative sources. For example, just one ounce of sesame seeds contains almost as much calcium as an entire glass of milk. Other major sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens.

When it comes to vitamin D, surprisingly, your best source is the sun! When exposed to the sun’s radiation, your body naturally produces vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged/unprotected sun exposure.

There are also a number of things we can eat and drink that are “fortified” with calcium and vitamin D including soy milk, orange juice and some breakfast cereals. You can also consider taking supplements.

Do you have questions about this topic? Contact us! Do you have suggestions for others who may be wondering about other sources for their daily calcium? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

And, as always, thank you for being our valued patient!


                     915-857-6453 EAST SIDE

                     915-587-6453 WEST SIDE


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.



Brush Up On Some Toothbrush History

WITH ALL THE AMAZING technology we see today, it’s easy to overlook the small wonders of the world—like the toothbrush! This small, but remarkable invention is the staple of our oral hygiene and health. Join us on a journey through time as we explore the way the toothbrush has changed across the ages!

Ancient Civilizations Used Sticks to Clean Their Teeth

Today, we understand the importance oral hygiene plays in our overall health. But even over 5,000 years ago people recognized the need for some type of oral care. Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations around 3500-3000 B.C. made “toothbrushes” by fraying the end of sticks and chewing on them!

Later, the Chinese made similar chewing sticks from aromatic tree twigs that were meant to freshen breath. People didn’t just use sticks, however. Bird feathers, animal bones and even porcupine quills were used to pick at food debris in the teeth.

The First Toothbrushes Were Made with Pig Hair

The first mention of an actual brush to clean teeth appears in Chinese writings around the 13th century. Bamboo or animal bone was used as the handle of the toothbrush and pig hair formed the bristles. Toothbrushes weren’t widely used or produced, however, until a couple hundred years later.

Around the year 1780, an Englishman named William Addis was sitting in his prison cell thinking of better ways to clean our teeth than rubbing them with a rag full of soot and salt (yuck!). He carved a handle out of animal bone, made some holes at the top and tied swine bristles to it. When he got out of prison, he turned toothbrush production into a business and made a fortune!

The Modern Toothbrush Continues to Evolve Today

As appetizing as pig hair sounds, aren’t you glad toothbrushes nowadays are made with nylon bristles? Nylon was invented in 1938 and by the 1950s, toothbrushes began to look and feel more like they do today. More technological advances made it possible to develop toothbrushes even further, and the electric toothbrush made its way to the United States in 1960.

People are still looking to drive toothbrush technology forward. New apps are being created all the time to make toothbrushing easier and more enjoyable. It even looks like built-in cameras may be in the future of toothbrushes!

The Toothbrush: One of Man’s Greatest Inventions?

The idea of the toothbrush was simple, but there’s no doubt it has greatly contributed to our oral and overall health. In fact, when a group of people were asked which invention they could not live withoutthe toothbrush beat out the car, computer, cell phone and microwave!

So, don’t take your toothbrush for granted. Use it twice daily for a full two minutes! Your pearly whites will thank you.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image by Flickr user William Warby used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Picasso Smiles Dental Culver City Now Accepting Patients

Picasso Smiles Dental is excited to announce that our West Los Angeles office location is now open in Culver City, CA. After seeing great success with two dental office locations in El Paso,TX, Dr. Nima Shayesteh and Dr. Tamir Shams decided to begin practicing dentistry in their hometown of Southern California again. Our dentists are bringing their experience and expertise to the West Los Angeles area to provide excellent dental care in a state-of-the-art office.

Your Dentist In Culver City

Picasso Smiles Dental in Culver City is the source for comprehensive dentistry. Our dentists offer cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, clear braces, sedation dentistry, pediatric dentistry, and much more. When you’re in need of a dentist in the Culver City area, we strive to be the best choice, as we are multi-specialty and you can visit the same office for all your dental needs, whether that’s teeth whitening or sleep apnea treatment.

Contact Your Dentist in Culver City

If you’re looking for a Culver City dentist who can address all your dental needs, give us a call at (424) 361-5218. Alternatively, you can fill out our online appointment request form to come in for your first visit. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We hope to see you soon and help give you a more beautiful healthy smile!


make over smile

Makeover Your Smile in 2016

2016 is decidedly here, and that means many of our patients are getting excited about continuing their New Year’s Resolutions. We love this time of year, and it strikes joy into our hearts to see the renewed invigoration and motivation for self-improvement that this time of year brings. But while many people may have gotten new gym subscriptions or bought a few books to read, there’s one resolution we bet you haven’t considered: a healthier, more beautiful smile. So this year, why not invest in your best asset and give your smile a makeover in 2016!

Comprehensive Treatments for a Beautiful Smile

At Picasso Smiles, we have everything you need to make your smile more beautiful than ever before. Whether you’re looking for a brighter smile through teeth whitening, want to straighten your teeth discreetly with clear braces, or want a complete full-mouth rehabilitation, we’ll help you achieve a gorgeous new smile no matter what condition yours is in currently. Our mission is to make you smile – beautifully!

Cutting Edge Technology

We pride ourselves on using only the latest in advanced, cutting-edge dental technology at our office – and that means you receive the safest, most effective, and most convenient treatment possible every time. With years of experience treating patients in the El Paso area, we have the skills and the tools to make your dream smile a reality!

Contact Your El Paso Cosmetic Dentists

Ready to make 2016 your best year yet with a brand new, beautiful smile? We’re here to make it happen. Feel free to call us at (915) 587-6453 for our Westside office, (915) 857-6453 for our Eastside office, reach out to us at our contact page, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at one of our offices. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you achieve a gorgeous new smile you’ll be proud of for years to come!

Picasso Smiles’ Favorite Holiday Activities in & Around El Paso

If you missed the 100th annual Celebration of Lights ceremony in downtown El Paso, don’t worry! There are still plenty of holiday themed and holiday spirit filled activities and events to experience throughout El Paso this season. The holidays aren’t over yet!

Picasso Smiles really enjoys this time of year! This year we got together and talked about our favorite things to do throughout our community during the holiday season. We had such a blast talking about our own personal experiences with one another, that we want to share it with you all so that you, too, can experience the joy and holiday spirit that comes from these different activities.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

moscow-balletWe all agree that Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is a must see! Every holiday season Tchaikovsky’s classic master score is brought to life with amazing, world-class artists. This year, we have the privilege of it being in our own back yard at The Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center on December 23rd and 24th! With 40 professional artists, larger than life puppets, amazing decorations and most, this ballet is must-see for the entire family. Don’t miss out! Purchase your tickets now!

Santa Makes His Way through El Paso

santa-at-zooBring the entire family to the El Paso Zoo and celebrate the holidays with your favorite zoo animals on December 12th and 13th from 10am-4pm. This is a great opportunity to bring in the cheer and join other El Paso residents in celebrating the holiday season. The zoo will be filled with entertainment, holiday themed arts and crafts, carolers throughout and SANTA! While at the zoo, you can write out your Christmas list and make sure it gets mailed to the North Pole. Check out the zoo website for more information.

If you can’t make it to the zoo to see Santa on those days, rest assured, Santa will also be at the Wyler Aerial Tramway on December 19th and 20th. Information can be found on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.

Join Christmas Street

paso-del-norteOne of the things we encourage our community to do is participate in Christmas Street’s 42nd annual fundraiser at the EL Paso Country Club on December 8th for the Paso Del Norte Children’s Development Center. This fundraiser has raised more than $4 million for children with special healthcare needs since 1969. With lavishly decorated trees, raffles, silent auctions, music and more, this event is sure to warm your heart. Find more information on their website and give back this holiday season!

Lights on the Lake is BACK!

lights-lakeWho remembers The Lights on the Lake holiday program? WE DO! And we are so happy that it’s coming back to Ascarate Park this year! The opening lighting ceremony will be on Saturday, December 12 at 6 pm with carolers, a band and a MINI Cooper parade featuring special guests, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the elves! Don’t miss this spectacular event! The Lights on the Lake holiday lights display will run from December 12th through January 4th and will be available for viewing every day from sundown until 10pm every night. Find more information here today!

Annual Holiday Open House

holiday-open-houseIf you can’t make it to The Lights on the Lake lighting ceremony, make you way down to Magoffin Home State Historic Site and Visitors Center. There will be holiday decorations, beautifully lit trees and live music throughout the rooms of this awesome venue. This is a great place to bring the entire family to get into the holiday spirit as the Magoffin Home comes alive with holiday cheer! Find more information for this event on the Magoffin Home website.

We sure hope you get to experience many of the events mentioned above before the holiday season comes to an end! We can’t wait to hear about your experiences the next time you come in. Schedule your next appointment at Picasso Smiles Dental by contacting us at our Westside or Eastside office today!
Happy holidays from your El Paso dentists and dental family!

The Ins & Outs of TMJ

The Temporomandibular Joint: Broken Down By Your Local El Paso Dentist

The temporomandibular joint, commonly referred to as TMJ, is located in front of your ear where the skull and the lower jaw meet. This joint is what connects your jaw to your skull and allows your lower jaw to move and function. Experts have determined that the TMJ is the most used joint in the body.

TMJ Structure

The TMJ has six main components:

  1. Condyles process – contributes to the ability to rotate your head
  2. Articular surface of the temporal bone – smooth, fibrous disc in between joint bones
  3. Capsule – thin, loose envelope attached to mandibular fossa and articular tubercle
  4. Articular disc – thin, oval plate which allows for joint movement
  5. Ligaments – help define joint movement
  6. Lateral pterygoid – muscle that allows us to open our jaws

What Causes TMJ Syndrome

Temporomandibular joint syndrome is a disorder of the nerves in the jaw and chewing muscles. This syndrome can be caused by misaligned teeth that force the jaw to rest in a way that causes stress to the ligaments within the joint. Other things that contribute to TMJ syndrome or developing TMJ syndrome include, but are not limited to:

  • Teeth or jaw injury
  • Teeth grinding
  • Poor posture
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Chewing gum & more

Signs & Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

tmjMany people who suffer from TMJ disorder are said to experience tooth sensitivity or gum recession. Other indicators that you may be suffering from this disorder can be:

  • Pain in the jaw joint
  • Ear pain
  • Clicking of the jaw or popping sounds in ear
  • Stiff or sore jaw muscles
  • Headaches
  • Jaw locking

Treating TMJ Syndrome with FOSA

Treating TMJ syndrome is easy! At Picasso Smiles, we can provide a custom made Face Orthopedic Stabilization Appliance (FOSA), which helps relieve pain. This premier dental appliance is made unique to each patient and their facial structure. This device is worn at night while sleeping, is very effective while also easy to clean and maintain.

Contact Your Dentist in El Paso

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you no longer have to suffer. Contact Picasso Smiles Dental at our Westside or Eastside office and let us help put a healthy, genuine smile back on your face. We will set an appointment for you to meet with one of our highly trained and experienced El Paso dentists that best fits your schedule and in no time at all, you will be TMJ syndrome free!


Teething & Tooth Eruption: What a Parent Should Expect

Growing a first tooth is one of the most excited and important milestones in an infant’s life – but for parents, the teething process can often be a bit of a mystery. We know that there’s a lot to keep track of, so for this blog, we’ve put together some helpful info and tips on what to expect as your child’s teeth develop.

Infant Teething

Most babies will get their first tooth between 4 to 7 months, although it’s normal for the first tooth to appear anywhere between 3 months and over a year old. Teeth will continue to pop up one at a time over the coming months, and while it’s an exciting time, it can also be uncomfortable for the child – so we recommend getting your baby a teething ring. You can also soothe pain by rubbing a finger over gums, feeding them cold food like applesauce, or giving them a cold washcloth to chew on. Be sure to avoid teething biscuits, though, as the sugar in these can damage infant’s teeth. By age 3, your child should have a full set of 20 baby teeth.

Permanent Teeth

Your child’s teeth will start to fall out around age 5 or 6, and thankfully this process is far less painful than eruption. Your child will continue to lose teeth and have new permanent teeth come in periodically over the coming years, with the final baby teeth falling out by age 12 or 13. It’s critical to maintain excellent oral hygiene during this period – be extra conscientious about daily brushing and flossing, and make sure your child comes in for a visit every 6 months.

Contact Your El Paso Pediatric Dentists

Have more questions about how to take care of your child’s teeth? We’re always happy to help. Feel free to reach out to us at our Westside or Eastside office, or schedule an appointment at either of our El Paso offices using our easy online form. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back at this blog for more tips and info on keeping your and your child’s teeth healthy and strong!

Make the Most of Your Dental Insurance Before the New Year!

At Picasso Smiles Dental, we want to be sure you get the most out of your treatment time spent at our El Paso dental office. Whether you are looking for teeth whitening services, dental implants, or clear braces, we are here to guide you in the right direction! With that being said, we want to ensure that our patients are getting the best treatment at the most affordable price in El Paso. This is why we decided to make this blog a friendly reminder about dental insurance at Picasso Smiles!

With fall in full swing and the holidays right around the corner, the New Year will be here before you know it! To make the most of your dental insurance benefits before the New Year, be sure to schedule an appointment at Picasso Smiles between October- December!

Insurances We Accept

As a reminder, below are the various insurances we accept at Picasso Smiles Dental. If you have any questions regarding your insurance benefits, do not hesitate to ask us!

Picasso Smiles is currently enrolled in TMHP Texas Medicaid/ Texas CHIP (Dentaquest, MCNA & Traditional Medicaid) along with New Mexico Medicaid. We want to be sure that you make the most out of your dental insurance before your benefits are up! Give us a call to schedule your consultation before the end of December. We look forward to seeing you!

Six Foods That Are Good For Your Teeth

Food choices play an important role when it comes to oral health. Believe it or not, not all foods that are healthy for you also promote good oral health! Some of the food that we have listed may surprise you – read below to learn about six foods that are particularly good for your teeth.

Eating the following foods will help promote good oral health:

  • Milk: Milk contains high levels of calcium, a mineral that the body uses to maintain strong bones. Calcium works to protect your teeth against gum disease. It also keeps your jawbone strong and healthy.
  • Celery, carrots, or other crunchy vegetables: Crunchy, firm vegetables contain a lot of water, which increases the flow of saliva and works to scrub tooth surfaces, ultimately brightening your teeth!
  • Salmon or other fatty fish: Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna are full of vitamin D, which allows your body to absorb and use higher levels of calcium (discussed above).
  • Oranges: Citrus fruits like oranges contain vitamin C, which helps keep your gums healthy by strengthening both blood vessels and connective tissue. Your teeth are connected to your jaw by connective tissue, so you can see why strong connective tissue is of high importance! Additionally, in some cases, vitamin C may prevent or slow the progression of gingivitis.
  • teaGreen and black teas: These types of tea contain polyphenols, which prevent plaque and harmful bacteria from growing and producing acid. This is incredibly useful for cavity prevention. Tea also has anti-inflammatory powers that help to control (and prevent against) gum disease.
  • Sugarless gum: The “sugarless” part is important, as sugar is in no way good for your teeth! Sugarless gum, on the other hand, contains xylitol, which stimulates saliva production, helping to reduce acid in your mouth. Additionally, sugarless gum can help “scrub” your teeth, which keeps your mouth feeling clean.

What Else Is Good For Your Teeth?

As you can see, the foods listed above provide a large amount of benefits to your oral health! With that being said, visiting your El Paso dentists at Picasso Smiles Dental is even better for your oral health! Our patients leave the office with significant improvements to their oral hygiene. Contact us to schedule a consultation today; you will be glad you did!