Title:
Travel toothbrush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention, in one aspect is directed to a toothbrush comprising an elongate handle and a brushing head. The elongate handle has first and second portions. The first portion includes a generally rectangular shaped body with grip means for facilitating holding the toothbrush during use. The second portion includes an elongate body having a securing means for retaining the brushing head in a fixed position relative to the elongate handle. An axis extends between the first and second portions of the elongate handle such that the brushing head is angularly tilted relative to the axis.



Inventors:
Florence, Ira (Thornhill, CA)
Application Number:
09/912370
Publication Date:
01/30/2003
Filing Date:
07/26/2001
Assignee:
FLORENCE IRA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/176.2, 15/184, 15/194, 132/311
International Classes:
A46B7/04; (IPC1-7): A46B7/04; A46B9/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090144924Wearable TowelJune, 2009Stein
20080092327Vacuum cleaner with integrated water filterApril, 2008Yarbrough
20060000046Coating container, kit and coating combinationJanuary, 2006Wren et al.
20040064912Dust and dirt collecting unit for vacuum cleanerApril, 2004Ji et al.
20090276973Cosmetic Applicator AssemblyNovember, 2009Bouix et al.
20100050373Suction nozzle for a vacuum cleanerMarch, 2010Kaffenberger et al.
20070130724Telescopic vacuum-cleaner wandJune, 2007Schiemann
20070125049Filter cleaning system for a vacuum cleanerJune, 2007Menrik et al.
20050241666Ultrasonic implementNovember, 2005Bodet et al.
20070174993Filter cleaning system for floor cleaning apparatusAugust, 2007Dever et al.
20090193601POLISHING BRUSHAugust, 2009Tan et al.



Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
H. Samuel Frost (Toronto, ON, CA)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A toothbrush comprising: an elongate handle and a brushing head, said elongate handle having a first and second portion, said first portion including a body providing a grip for facilitating holding said toothbrush during use, and said second portion including an elongate body having a securing means at an end remote from said first portion, for mounting said brushing head in a fixed position relative to said elongate handle, wherein said body includes a hollow region for storing at least one brushing head.

2. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein said body includes a handle axis extending between said first and second portions of said elongate handle and a brush axis of said brushing head, and wherein said securing means is such that said brush axis is angularly tilted relative to said handle axis.

3. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 2, wherein said brush axis is provided at one of an acute angle and an obtuse angle relative to said handle axis.

4. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 3, wherein said securing means includes opposed mounting surfaces perpendicular to said brush axis and a bore extending between said mounting surfaces and wherein said brushing head includes a shaft for engaging said bore of said securing means.

5. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 4, wherein said bore and said shaft of said brushing head include complementary threads.

6. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein sides of said body are substantially rectangular and said body has a substantially square cross-section.

7. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 6, wherein said body includes a series of inwardly arched concaved regions longitudinally distributed along said sides of said body, whereby each of said inwardly arched concaved regions is adapted to facilitate gripping said toothbrush whilst in use.

8. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 1, wherein said body includes a removable lid for closing said hollow region, whereby said at least one brushing head can be confined within said body by said lid.

9. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 6 or 7, wherein said body includes at least one hole to permit air to enter and circulate within said hollow region and to dry moist or wet brushing heads.

10. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 3, wherein said acute angle is in the range of approximately 65-70°, and said obtuse angle is in the range of approximately 120-125°.

11. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 8, wherein said body and said lid each include at least one hole therethrough to said hollow inner volume, to permit air to enter said and exit said hollow inner volume from separate holes.

12. A toothbrush comprising: (a) an elongate handle moulded from a plastic material, which includes a first and second end portion, said elongate handle having a body at one end having a hollow inner volume, open at a free end thereof and having side surfaces of a generally waved shape to facilitate gripping of said toothbrush whilst in use; (b) on at least one of said side surfaces, at least one hole through to said hollow inner volume, to permit air flow access to said hollow inner volume of said elongate handle; (c) a removable lid for closing said open free end of said hollow inner volume; (d) a brushing head, wherein said brushing head is connected to said angled securing means; and (e) an angled securing means for securing said brushing head to said second portion.

13. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 12, further including at least one replacement brushing head stored in said hollow inner volume of said elongate handle.

14. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 12, wherein said elongate handle has an axis extending longitudinally throughout its length between said lid means and said angled securing means, and wherein said angled securing means is annularly shaped, said angled securing means having a first surface and a second surface, whereby said brushing head connects to either said first surface or said second surface.

15. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 14, wherein said axis and said first surface of said angled securing means form an acute angle.

16. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 15, wherein said acute angle is in the range of approximately 65-70°.

17. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 14, wherein said axis and said second surface of said angled securing means form an obtuse angle.

18. The toothbrush as claimed in claim 17, wherein said obtuse angle is in the range of approximately 120-125°.

19. A method of providing a brushing head of a toothbrush for use and for protecting the brushing head, the method comprising: (a) providing a toothbrush with a body and providing a hollow region within said body for storing said at least one brushing head; (b) providing a lid for closing said hollow region, to confine said at least one brushing head within said hollow region to protect said at least one brushing head; (c) providing at least one hole in at least one of said body and said lid for permitting air flow through said hollow region to reduce moisture in said hollow region; (d) providing said toothbrush with a securing means, and in use, mounting a brushing head to said securing means; and (e) removing said brushing head from said securing means when not in use; and (f) storing said brushing head in said hollow region.

20. The method as claimed in claim 19, wherein said storing step comprises: (a) removing said lid means for providing access to said hollow region; (b) placing said brushing head in said hollow region; and (c) replacing said lid means for confining said at least one brushing head within said hollow region.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention is related to a toothbrush, particularly an interdental massaging brush adapted for the purpose of traveling.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Oral hygiene is an everyday requirement for all individuals. The build up of bacterial plaque which can ultimately lead to gingivitis and other gum diseases can be over come by a proactive oral hygiene program. Regular brushing with a suitable toothbrush allows for the removal of plaque and massage and stimulation around the gingival margin gumline and interproximal regions of the teeth. Consequently, a toothbrush device of suitable design is necessary for accessing the interproximal regions of the teeth as well the front and back regions of the teeth, and these functions are not always provided by conventional toothbrushes.

[0003] Another aspect of oral hygiene relates to the consistency and regularity requirement associated with brushing one's teeth and massaging, stimulating and exercising one's gums. For this reason, a brushing device should be easy to use and easy to carry around, such as in a person's pocket for instance. One toothbrush which is found to be useful in helping individuals improve oral hygiene is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,679,272 by the patent assignee (Sulcabrush Inc.) of the proposed present invention, and is specifically intended to act as an interdental gumline brush that provides massage and stimulation around the gumline, interproximal regions of the teeth and behind the back teeth. However, this type of toothbrush does not allow for easy portability as it does not provide a means for storing the brushing heads after use. The size of the toothbrush is also a limiting factor for portability purposes.

[0004] The present inventor has now realized that it is desirable to provide for storage of the brushing head or for each brushing head after use, once the individual has finished brushing his or her teeth. This would allow the individual to carry the toothbrush in a coat or jacket pocket for example. Whilst travelling, it would be desirable to store the brushing heads to keep them clean, once the individual has finished brushing his or her teeth. This is particularly desirable in the case when the individual carries the toothbrush in a coat or jacket pocket for example.

[0005] Accordingly, there is a need for a toothbrush, particularly an interdental massaging brush, which enables effective brushing and the removal of bacterial plaque, more particularly along the gumline, between the teeth and behind the back teeth, as well as providing a means for storing and maintaining the brushing heads.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention relates to a toothbrush comprising an elongate handle means moulded from a plastic material, which includes a first and second end portion. The elongate handle has a hollow inner volume and surfaces of a generally waved shape to facilitate gripping of the toothbrush whilst in use. The elongate handle also comprises at least one hole located on its surfaces, wherein the at least one hole allows air flow access to the hollow inner volume of the elongate handle. The toothbrush also includes a removable lid means, wherein the lid means attaches to the first end portion of the elongate handle means and provides access to the hollow inner volume. An angled securing means is located at the second end portion of the elongate handle, whereby the securing means secures the brushing head in place.

[0007] In another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of maintaining brushing heads of a toothbrush having a body, the method comprising: providing a hollow region within the body of the tooth brush for storing the brushing heads, and providing a lid means for confining the brushing heads within the hollow region; and providing at least one hole in the body for promoting drying of brushing heads.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] For a better understanding of the present invention and to show more clearly how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings:

[0009] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view from the side of a toothbrush according to the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 shows a perspective bottom view of the toothbrush showing of a hollow region of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 shows a perspective bottom view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 4 shows a perspective side view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1, with an opened lid;

[0013] FIG. 5 shows a perspective view from the side for the toothbrush of FIG. 1 without the brushing head attached; and

[0014] FIG. 6 shows a perspective bottom view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1 with the lid being closed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0015] FIG. 1 illustrates a toothbrush 10 comprising an elongate body or handle 12, which includes first and second portions denoted by reference characters 14 and 16 respectively. The first portion 14 of the elongate handle includes a body 18, which has a hollow region inside, as indicated by 20 (as illustrated in FIG. 2). It will be appreciated that body 18 can be of any geometrical shape, which incorporates an inner hollow region inside. For example, body 18 may be cylindrical as opposed to the generally rectangular shape shown in FIG. 1. The surfaces of the rectangular shaped body 18 are wave shaped as a result of a series of inwardly arched, concaved regions 22a, 22b, 22c extending longitudinally across its length. Regions 22a, 22b and 22c facilitate gripping the toothbrush during brushing. Referring to FIG. 3, it can be seen that the frequency and depth of the regions 22a, 22b, 22c are selected to comfortably accommodate the fingertip regions 26 and 28 of a person's thumb and fingers respectively. Regions 22a, 22b, 22c preferably extend around the entire perimeter of body 18. Alternatively, however, regions 22a, 22b, 22c may extend only partially around body 18. It will be appreciated that body 18 may alternatively have another shape, as long as it includes a hollow region within and a surface profile facilitating gripping thereof.

[0016] The first portion 14 of the body 18 includes an arched region 31 having a plurality of holes 30. The arched region 31 is located on the body 18, where the cross section of the body 18 reduces to form the cross section of the second portion 16 of the elongate handle 12. Holes 30 in the body 18 are described in further detail below.

[0017] Portion 18 has an end 34 which opens into the hollow region 20. A lid 38 is included which fits on end 34. Lid 38 is used to close hollow region 20 for the storage of items therein. Referring to FIG. 2, it can be seen that lid 38 includes a rectangular base 64 and a smaller rectangular protrusion 62 extending concentrically therefrom. The cross-section of the rectangular protrusion 62 is approximately the same as the cross-section at the mouth of the hollow region 20. In fact, the cross-section of the rectangular protrusion 62 is slightly smaller than the cross-section at the mouth of the hollow region so that the protrusion 62 may be pushed into the mouth to provide a snug fit, to retain the lid 38 in position. Once the protrusion 62 is forced into the mouth of the hollow region 20, an outer edge 66 of the rectangular base 62 abuts against a rim 68 (see FIG. 2) of the rectangular body 18. Preferably, both the handle 12 and the lid 38 are moulded from a plastic material. It will be understood that the protrusion 62 and wide surfaces at the mouth of region 20 can be provided with one or more complementary projections and recesses to provide a snap fit to the lid 38.

[0018] To prevent the lid 38 from being lost, it is connected to the handle 12 by a living hinge 15 or the like. The living hinge 15 is integrally connected to the body 18 and lid 38. It will be appreciated that if the body 18 were to be made from a material other than plastic, the living hinge 15 can still be manufactured as an integral part of body 18. The lid 38, includes a hole 32 therethrough, which is described in further detail below.

[0019] Referring to FIG. 1, the second portion 16 of elongate handle 12 includes an elongate generally rectangular body with a substantially reduced cross section relative to rectangular shaped body 18. The end portion of the elongate handle 12 includes an annular shaped securing means 40, which has a threaded bore 42 for securing a brushing head 50 in place. The securing means 40 is angularly tilted relative to elongate handle 12 and has a first surface 46 (see FIG. 5) and a second surface 48 (see FIG. 1). A brushing head 50 has a threaded shaft 52 which screws into the threaded bore 42 of the securing means 40. The brushing head 50 also includes a body 54 to which the threaded shaft 52 is moulded. The body 54 also holds and secures in place a plurality of bristle elements 56. The brushing head 50 is screwed into the threaded bore 42 until the end portion of the body 54 tightens against the second surface 48 of securing means 40. In this position, a brush axis 45 of the brushing head 50 is at an acute angle, defined by Θ1, relative to a handle axis 44 which runs along the length of the elongate handle 12. The brush axis 45 then lies on an axis of the threaded bore 42 that is perpendicular to the first and second surfaces 46, 48. Referring to FIG. 4, the brushing head 50 can similarly be attached to the first surface 46 of securing means 40, such that the brushing head 50 and axis 44 form an obtuse angle, as defined by Θ2. By altering the position (acute or obtuse) of the brushing head 50 in this way, the toothbrush can be adapted to remove plaque, massage and stimulate either the lingual or inside surfaces of the teeth and gums and behind the back teeth, or the outer or buccal surfaces. The acute angle that the brushing head forms with axis 44 is in the range of approximately 65-70°. Also, the obtuse angle that the brushing head forms with axis 44 is in the range of approximately 120-125°.

[0020] As illustrated in FIG. 2, a replacement brushing head 60 can be stored in the hollow region 20 of the body 18. The inner volume of the hollow region, indicated by 20, is such that more than one replacement brushing head 60 can be stored in the body 18. Also, for travel purposes, the existing brushing head 50 can be removed from the securing means 40 and stored in the hollow region 20. As illustrated in FIG. 6, once the existing brushing head 50 or replacement brushing heads 60 are stored in the rectangular shaped body 18, the lid 38 is placed on the end 34, to cover the hollow region 20 in order to retain the brushing heads inside.

[0021] With all brushing heads, including the brushing head 50 placed in the hollow region 20, there is then no need to provide a protective cap or the like. The handle 12, by itself, is then small and compact, and can be readily carried in a user's pocket, for example.

[0022] Hinge 15 has been shown to be a living hinge that is integral with both the body 18 and the lid 38. Alternatively, however, hinge 15 can be any suitable type of hinge, and may by a separate piece that is attached to body 18 and lid 38. As a further alternative, hinge 15 may be omitted entirely, so that the lid 38 is a completely separate piece that is removably attachable to the end 34 of the body 18.

[0023] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the holes 30 on the body 18 and hole 32 on the lid 38 allow air to circulate in the hollow region 20 (see FIG. 2), which serves as a means for drying brushing heads which are moist or wet from use and generally drying the hollow region 20.

[0024] In the embodiments described, body 18 includes a plurality of holes 30 and lid 38 includes a hole 32. By having two or more holes in total, air can enter and exit hollow region 20 by separate holes. It is alternatively possible, however, for a single hole to be included to permit airflow into and out of hollow region 20. The hole may be on either the body 18 or alternatively on the lid 38. Furthermore, more or fewer holes 30 and 32 may be included and they may be of any suitable shape while permitting airflow into and out of hollow region 20. Holes 30 and 32 may be positioned anywhere on the body 18 or lid 38 and may be in any orientation while permitting airflow into and out of hollow region 20.

[0025] Body 18 and lid 38 have been shown to be rectangular in cross section. Alternatively, however, body 18 and lid 38 may have any suitable cross sectional shape. For example, body 18 may be cylindrical having an annular end 34, and lid 38 may have a circular portion for inserting into end 34.

[0026] Referring to FIG. 1, the acute angle of the brushing head 50 relative to the elongate handle 12 is preferably used for cleaning the lingual or inside surfaces of the teeth and gums and behind the back teeth. Also, the buccal or outer surfaces of the teeth are preferably cleaned when the brushing head and elongate handle form an obtuse angle, as illustrated in FIG. 4. Consequently, in accordance with the present invention, in use, the toothbrush invigorates the gums, massages the gingival margin and cleans and removes plaque from the surfaces and interproximal areas of the teeth and behind the back teeth. It will also be appreciated that the brushing head 50 shown in FIG. 1 is the same as the brushing head shown in the patent assignee's earlier patent, U.S. Pat. No. 4,679,272. Although the embodiment of the present invention illustrates a rectangular shaped body 18, the body 18 can be of any shape which comprises a wave shaped profile for facilitating gripping the toothbrush 10.

[0027] It will be understood that various modifications can be made to the preferred and alternative embodiments described and illustrated herein, the scope of which is defined in the appended claims. In particular, while the invention is, in general, applicable to any toothbrush configuration, it is particularly intended for an interdental brush having small, compact brushing heads as in U.S. Pat. No. 4,679,272, or other small stimulating and cleaning devices. Compared to the size of conventional toothbrush heads, such small brushing heads can be readily stored in the small handle of a portable toothbrush.