Title:
Toothbrush holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toothbrush holder includes a receptacle and a lid or cover, which engages the receptacle and may be removeably attached to the receptacle, for example by hinge or snap. The engagement between the receptacle and lid may be a liquid tight seal. The receptacle is designed to hold any of a variety of commercially available sanitizing or antibacterial agent to sanitize or disinfect toothbrushes in the holder. Possible sanitizing agents include mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide.



Inventors:
Bowie, Horace (Canton, GA, US)
Application Number:
09/796357
Publication Date:
09/05/2002
Filing Date:
03/02/2001
Assignee:
BOWIE HORACE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A46B17/02; A46B17/04; A61L2/18; A61L2/26; (IPC1-7): B65D83/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dentons US LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A toothbrush holder for immersing a toothbrush in a sanitizing agent, comprising: a receptacle having a base and side walls; a cover having a top and side walls; a tray having a wall which is divided by a plurality of partitions and a bottom shelf, the tray being insertable into the receptacle, the bottom shelf being a predetermined distance above the base of the receptacle when the tray is inserted into the receptacle; wherein the cover is configured to engage the receptacle.

2. The toothbrush holder of claim 1, wherein the cover is connected to the receptacle by a hinge.

3. The toothbrush holder of claim 2, wherein the hinge is a snap hinge.

4. The toothbrush holder of claim 1, wherein the cover engages the receptacle to form a liquid tight seal.

5. The toothbrush holder of claim 1, wherein the cover is configured to engage the receptacle by means of screw threads.

6. A toothbrush holder for immersing a toothbrush in a sanitizing agent, comprising: a receptacle having a base and side walls; a cover having a top and side walls; a tray, the tray being insertable into the receptacle, the tray holding tootbrushes held therein above the base of the receptacle when the tray is inserted into the receptacle; wherein the cover is configured to engage the receptacle.

7. The toothbrush holder of claim 1, wherein the bottom shelf has a predetermined width such that at least a portion of bristles of a toothbrush placed on the bottom shelf will overhang the bottom shelf.

8. A toothbrush holder for immersing a toothbrush in a sanitizing agent, comprising: a receptacle having a base and side walls; a cover having a top and side walls; a tray having a stand, a wall, partitions, a spacer support and a bottom shelf, the tray being insertable into the receptacle and having a plurality of compartments formed therein, wherein each compartment is formed of the wall and at least two partitions and the bottom shelf, the bottom shelf being a predetermined distance above the base of the receptacle when the tray is inserted into the receptacle; wherein the cover is configured to engage the receptacle.

9. The toothbrush holder of claim 8, wherein the cover is connected to the receptacle by a hinge.

10. The toothbrush holder of claim 9, wherein the hinge is a snap hinge.

11. The toothbrush holder of claim 8, wherein the cover engages the receptacle to form a liquid tight seal.

12. The toothbrush holder of claim 8, wherein the cover is configured to engage the receptacle by means of screw threads.

13. The toothbrush holder of claim 8, wherein, when the tray is inserted into the receptacle, the compartments are tilted with respect to one of the side walls of the receptacle.

14. The toothbrush holder of claim 8, wherein the bottom shelf has a predetermined width such that at least a portion of bristles of a toothbrush placed in the compartment will overhang the bottom shelf.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a holder for a toothbrush or a plurality of toothbrushes, more particularly, to a toothbrush holder that provides a disinfectant or antibacterial to sanitize the toothbrush or toothbrushes and maintain their sanitary state while held in the toothbrush holder.

[0003] 2. Discussion of Related Art

[0004] One of the primary problems with repeated use of a toothbrush is that after use, the toothbrush retains debris, as well as bacteria, viruses and other “germs.” While devices have been developed to disinfect toothbrushes, these devices are often cumbersome or do not adequately disinfect the toothbrush. Moreover, many of the known devices do not provide adequate access to a person who is trying to remove the toothbrush from the holder. Furthermore, while such devices do allow the head of a toothbrush to be immersed in a disinfecting solution, these devices do not provide any mechanism for debris to be removed from the toothbrush, or these devices allow the brush heads to sit at the bottom of a container in debris that settle out of a brush head.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a toothbrush holder that substantially obviates one or more of the problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

[0006] An object of the present invention is to provide a toothbrush holder that provides easy access to toothbrushes held in the holder.

[0007] A further object of the is to provide a holder which contains a disinfecting agent for disinfecting and sanitizing toothbrushes in the holder.

[0008] A further object of the present invention is to provide toothbrush holder that separates a plurality of toothbrushes held in the holder from one another.

[0009] A further object of the present invention is to provide a shelf above the bottom of the toothbrush holder receptacle which supports the brush head and allows debris to settle out of the brush head.

[0010] Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

[0011] To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the present invention, as embodied and broadly described, the present invention includes a receptacle having a base and side walls; a cover having a top and side walls; a tray having a stand, a wall, partitions, a spacer support and a bottom shelf, the tray being insertable into the receptacle and having a plurality of compartments formed therein, wherein each compartment is formed of the wall and at least two partitions and the bottom shelf, the bottom shelf being a predetermined distance above the base of the receptacle when the tray is inserted into the receptacle; wherein the cover is configured to engage the receptacle.

[0012] It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ATTACHED DRAWINGS

[0013] The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this application, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

[0014] In the drawings:

[0015] FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of the toothbrush holder, having a hinged lid.

[0016] FIG. 2 shows a rear view of the toothbrush holder of the FIG. 1 when the toothbrush holder is in a closed position.

[0017] FIG. 3 shows an enlarged view of a hinge portion of the toothbrush holder of FIG. 1.

[0018] FIG. 4 shows a front view of a tray portion of the toothbrush holder, including examples of toothbrushes held in the tray.

[0019] FIG. 5 shows a rear view of the tray portion of FIG. 4.

[0020] FIG. 6 illustrates a shelf portion of the tray portion of FIG. 4.

[0021] FIG. 7 illustrates another embodiment of a toothbrush holder.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0022] Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

[0023] The toothbrush holder of FIG. 1 includes a receptacle 4 and a lid or cover 8, which engages the receptacle and may be removeably attached to the receptacle 4, for example by hinge or snap. The engagement between the receptacle 4 and lid 8 may be a liquid tight seal. The receptacle 4 is designed to hold any of a variety of commercially available sanitizing or antibacterial agents to sanitize or disinfect toothbrushes in the holder. Possible sanitizing agents include mouthwash.

[0024] As shown in FIG. 1, in a preferred embodiment, the receptacle 4 and the lid 8 have substantially rectangular or box configurations. The receptacle 4 has a front wall, back wall, side walls and a base. A top portion of the receptacle 4 is open. Similarly, the lid 8 has a front wall, back wall, side walls and a top. Preferably, the receptacle 4 and the lid 8 have rounded corners and edges 12 to eliminate sharp or rough edges.

[0025] The receptacle 4 and lid 8 can be of any complementary shape. For example, the receptacle 4 may be cylindrical or may have a triangular, hexagonal or other shaped cross-section, so long as the lid 8 has a cross-section that fits together with the receptacle 4 to form a closed space.

[0026] In the preferred embodiment, the lid 8 is configured to fit over the receptacle 4 when closed, as shown in FIG. 2. In such configuration, a lower cross-section of the lid 8 and an upper cross-section of the receptacle 4 have similar dimensions.

[0027] In the preferred embodiment, the lid 8 is attached to the receptacle 4 along respective back walls via hinges 16. Preferably, the hinges 16 are snap type hinges that allow the lid 8 to be detached from the receptacle 4 and replaced on the receptacle 4 without damage. A preferred configuration for the hinge 16 is shown in FIG. 3.

[0028] As shown in FIG. 3, the lid 8 includes a first hinge portion 20 of at least one hinge 16. The receptacle 4 includes a second hinge portion 24 of the at least one hinge 16, the second hinge portion 24 and the first hinge portion 20 being complementary such that the hinge portions 20 and 24 engage one another to form a hinged, rotatable connection between receptacle 4 and the lid 8. This hinged attachment may be a single hinge or a plurality of hinges along one top edge 28 of the receptacle 4 and one bottom edge 32 of the lid 8. Other connections between the lid 8 and the receptacle 8 are possible, including snap-on or screw threads. In one embodiment of the present invention, a liquid tight seal is formed between the lid 8 and the receptacle 4.

[0029] As can be seen in FIG. 1, toothbrushes 36 are placed in the receptacle 4 in a “brush head down” position, i.e., the handles protrude upward. The toothbrushes 36 are placed in a tray 40 which is located inside the receptacle 4. Preferably, the tray 40 is removably insertable into the receptacle 4. The toothbrushes 36 can be placed in tray 40 before being placed in the receptacle 4. Moreover, the tray 40 need not be removed entirely from the receptacle 4, but may be partially removed from the receptacle 4 for placement or removal of a toothbrush 36 from the toothbrush holder. A top portion of the tray 40 can be seen in FIG. 1. One configuration of the tray 40 is shown in detail in FIG. 4.

[0030] The tray 40 is configured to fit snuggly in the receptacle 4 so that the tray 40 retains a relatively constant position relative to an interior wall 44 of the receptacle 4 when placed in the receptacle 4. The tray 40 may be removed from the receptacle 4 for cleaning or to facilitate placement of a toothbrush 36 in the tray 40. Preferably, the tray 40 is slideably insertable into the receptacle 4.

[0031] The tray 40 includes at least one “compartment” or partitioned region 48 for holding a single toothbrush 36. The compartments 48 are substantially parallel to one another. A top portion of the compartment 48 is open. A toothbrush 36 held in a compartment 48 is substantially surrounded on three sides by the compartment 48. Alternatively, a compartment may only surround the brush head of a toothbrush held in the compartment. The shape of the cross section of the compartment is not limited to any particular shape, as long as the toothbrushes 36 are substantially held within the compartment separated from toothbrushes in other compartments 48.

[0032] A front view of the tray 40 is shown in FIG. 4. A back view of the tray 40 is shown in FIG. 5. The example shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 includes four compartments 48.

[0033] In the preferred embodiment, the tray 40 includes a stand 56, partitions 60, back wall 64, and spacer support 68. Each compartment 48 is formed by the back wall 64 and at least two partitions 60. The tray 40 also includes a shelf 72 that spans the bottom of the compartments 48 such that a toothbrush held in a compartment 48 sits on the shelf 72. Alternatively, each compartment 48 may have a separate shelf 72, as shown in FIG. 4. The shelf 72 is preferably no deeper than a typical toothbrush handle 76 that typically holds bristles 80 of a toothbrush head 84, so that the bristles 80 of a standard toothbrush overhang the shelf 72, as illustrated in FIG. 6. The shelf 72 is sufficient distance above the bottom of the tray 40 so that when the tray 40 is inserted into the receptacle 4, the shelf 72 is above a bottom or base 74 of the receptacle 4. Such configuration allows the toothbrush head to remain above the bottom of the receptacle 4 and allows debris in the bristles 80 of a toothbrush head 84 immersed in a disinfecting agent to float out of the bristles 80 and to the bottom of the receptacle 4.

[0034] In the preferred embodiment, the tray 40 holds toothbrushes 36 in a substantially vertical position, i.e., substantially parallel to the side wall of the receptacle 4. Toothbrushes 36 are held with the toothbrush head of the toothbrush in the lower portion of the receptacle 4, i.e., “brushhead down.”

[0035] The receptacle may have a weighted base to add stability.

[0036] In one embodiment of the present invention, the back wall 64 of the tray 40 forms an acute angle with respect to the interior wall 44 of the receptacle 4 when the tray 40 is inserted into the receptacle 4. In this way, the toothbrush handle 76 is tilted with respect to the receptacle interior wall 44 and is not identically perpendicular to the base 74 of the receptacle 4.

[0037] When a toothbrush 36 is placed in a compartment 48 in the tray 40 inserted into the receptacle 4, a portion of the toothbrush handle 76 is exposed to extend above the upper rim of the receptacle 4 so that a person wishing to pick up the toothbrush 36 can easily access the toothbrush 36 and remove it from the compartment 48 and the receptacle 4. The lid 8 is attached to the receptacle 4 by the hinge 16 so that when the lid 8 is rotated about the hinge 16 to open or close the toothbrush holder, there is a distance between toothbrush handles 76 of toothbrushes 36 held in the tray 40 and the lid 8.

[0038] The lid 8 and receptacle 4 may include a clip or lock (not shown) to temporarily affix the lid 8 to the receptacle 4. An upper rim of the receptacle 4 or a lower rim of the lid 8, or both, may include a seal, such as an O-ring, such that when the lid 8 and the receptacle 4 engage one another, a liquid proof seal is established.

[0039] In a preferred embodiment, a disinfecting or sterilizing agent is placed into the receptacle 4. The receptacle 4 may or may not have the tray 40 inserted therein when the disinfecting agent is provided. Sufficient disinfecting agent is provided in the receptacle 4 such that at least the toothbrush heads 84 of toothbrushes 36 placed in the tray 40 are covered with the disinfecting agent when the tray 40 is inserted into the receptacle 4. The disinfecting agent may be mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, or other chemical agent which is deemed safe for human use.

[0040] In another embodiment, toothbrushes 36 may be held in a relatively horizontal or position angled relative to the base 174 of the receptacle, as illustrated in FIG. 7. The toothbrush holder shown in FIG. 7 includes a lid 108, a receptacle 104, and an insertable tray 140 having partitions 160 and compartments 148 for holding standard toothbrushes 36.

[0041] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the toothbrush holder of the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventions. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and equivalents.





 
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