Title:
Oral care brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A oral care brush device is provided for use as either a toothbrush or a gum brush. An elongated handle is connected to a brush head. The brush head has a top and bottom face with a plurality of bristles extending orthogonally from both the top and bottom faces. The brush head may also include an elongate member that permits releasable attachment to the handle. A gap is defined between the brush head and the elongate handle to provide air cushioning for comfort when used.



Inventors:
Davis, Colin G. (Kaneohe, HI, US)
Application Number:
09/954316
Publication Date:
03/13/2003
Filing Date:
09/11/2001
Assignee:
DAVIS COLIN G.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/176.1, 15/145
International Classes:
A46B5/00; A46B7/04; A46B9/04; (IPC1-7): A46B7/04; A46B9/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Niky G. Economy (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An oral care brush comprising: an elongated handle having a top and bottom face, and opposite first and second ends and a first releasable attachment formation at the first end of the handle; and a brush head having first and second ends and a top and bottom face with a plurality of bristles extending orthogonally from both the top and bottom faces; the brush head having an attachment formation for releasable attachment to the first attachment formation of the handle.

2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bristles are made of silicone.

3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the handle is substantially oblong.

4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2, wherein the bristles are between 2 mm and 5 mm.

5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the brush head includes an elongate member extending from the first end for releasable attachment to the handle.

6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the brush head is hollow between the top and bottom faces and therefore resilient.

7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the brush head is attached to the handle with a snap-fit attachment.

8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 5, wherein a gap is defined between the brush head and the elongate member.

9. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of the same length.

10. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of different lengths.

11. The apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of the same thickness.

12. The apparatus as claimed in claim 10, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of varying thicknesses.

13. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bristles on the top and bottom faces are positioned adjacent to each other.

14. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bristles on the top and bottom faces are spaced so that they do not come in contact with each other.

15. An oral care brush comprising: an elongated handle having a top and bottom face, and opposite first and second ends and having a first releasable attachment formation at the first end of the handle; a brush head having first and second ends and a top and bottom face with a plurality of bristles extending orthogonally from both the top and bottom faces; and and an elongate member extending from the first end of the brush head for releasable attachment to the handle; wherein the brush head is hollow between the top and the bottom faces to allow the elongated handle to engage with the brush head but allow for a gap to remain between the brush head and the elongate handle.

16. The apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein the bristles are made of silicone.

17. The apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein the handle is substantially oblong.

18. The apparatus as claimed in claim 16, wherein the bristles are between 2 mm and 5 mm.

19. The apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein the brush head is attached to the handle with a snap-fit attachment.

20. The apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of the same length.

21. The apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of different lengths.

22. The apparatus as claimed in claim 20, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of the same thickness.

23. The apparatus as claimed in claim 21, wherein the bristles on the top face and the bottom face are of varying thicknesses.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to an oral care brush for use as either a toothbrush or a gum brush.

[0002] Toothbrushes have been around for thousands of years. The earliest toothbrushes were small twigs that were mashed at one end to increase their cleaning surface. Toothpicks made of wood, thorn, metal, or porcupine quills have been around for at least 3,000 years. During the 1800's, toothbrushes were made by hand. The thigh bones of cattle were considered superior for use as handles because they were strong enough to withstand pressure, especially when brushes became wet during use. Bristles came from the necks and shoulders of swine, especially those in the colder climates of Siberia and China. Badger bristles were avoided because it was believed they were too soft. In the mid-1880's, toothbrushes began being manufactured in America. The first nylon toothbrushes were made in 1938. The use of nylon filaments gained widespread acceptance because of the wars and other world disturbances that interfered with the importation of good natural bristles. Today, the combination of nylon bristles with plastic handles is still used by manufacturers. Electronic toothbrushes captured a large share of the market by the 1990's and in 1994 toothbrushes that operate on principles of ultrasound became available to the public. Today there are many different toothbrushes featuring all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and functions. Over the past ten years, dentists have favored soft bristles over hard bristles as the hard bristles can cause gum trauma.

[0003] The use of gum brushes has also been instrumental in fighting periodontal disease including gingivitis and periodontitis. Such chronic bacterial infections can affect both the gums and the bone supporting the teeth. Gum brushes aid in the maintaining of good oral health by massaging and stimulating gum tissue and not allowing plaque to spread and grow below a person's gum line. They allow for toxins that are produced by bacteria in plaque to be brushed away rather than irritate the gums. With proper brushing and massage, blood flow is stimulated and the toxins in a person's mouth do not initiate a chronic inflammatory response in which the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.

[0004] Typical toothbrushes and gum brushes usually have an elongated handle wherein orthogonal bristles extend or protrude from one end of the handle. The problem with this configuration is that because the bristles are attached directly to the handle, which is made of material that is harder than the bristles, people with sensitive teeth or gums have to be careful using these brushes and insuring that the non-bristle portion does not touch or hurt them.

[0005] Not withstanding the use of toothbrushes and gum brushes, there has always been a need for an oral care brush that allows different kinds of users to use a single type of brush that is comfortable and allows for a thorough cleaning of the teeth or gums. It is important for a user to be able to apply pastes and oils onto a brush head in a manner that allows for maximum application to the desired area. Therefore, there is a need for an oral care brush that is comfortable and efficient for maintaining good oral hygiene.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved oral care brush that allows for maximum use in efficiency in massaging and stimulating the gums or cleaning the teeth of a user.

[0007] According to the present invention, an oral care brush is provided. The device comprises a handle and a brush head. The handle has a top and bottom face, and opposite first and second ends. This handle can be made of a variety of materials but is primarily constructed of any plastic material used within the tooth care industry to make handles. Additionally, the handle can be any shape comfortable for holding by a user. Examples of typical shapes include rectangular or oblong. The elongated handle is then attached to the brush head.

[0008] The brush head has a top face and a bottom face with multiple bristles that extend orthogonally from both of the faces. The bristles and brush head are made of silicone or other elastomeric material, and not nylon or the like as with traditional toothbrushes. Additionally, the bristles can be of a length shorter than typical toothbrush head bristles to be suitable for the application of oils, paste, or the like to the gums. The range of lengths of the toothbrush bristles is preferably from 2 mm to 5 mm. Because the lengths of the bristles are not necessarily what is considered to be standard, and the bristles are made of silicone or other similar soft material, the bristles provide features not previously available. The composition and length of the bristles allows for them to bend directly at their point of attachment. This means that when any substance is applied to the bristles, even though it may fall to the bottom of the brush head, it can still be applied directly onto either the teeth or gums. This was not possible with prior toothbrushes because the paste or oil applied would fall through the bristles and settle onto the face of the toothbrush and would not reach the gums. Additionally, depending on the composition of the bristles, the function for which the brush is used for can vary. With the selection of certain harder bristles, the brush can be better used for the removal of plaque. On the other hand, with the incorporation of softer bristles, modification of the brush for sensitive users is achieved.

[0009] An advantage of the present invention described herein is the fact that the configuration allows for increased comfort and efficiency when used by an average person or even a person with sensitive teeth or gums. First of all, because the bristles of the brush head are made of silicone instead of traditional materials such as nylon, the pressure on a person's teeth or gums is reduced and the bristles are more flexible. The silicone provides for softer application by the user and for more comfort while in use. The regular nylon bristles are not as flexible when they are in this length range and also require more bristles to be contained on the brush head. Therefore, any paste or oil applied to the these bristles will simply remain at the bottom of the brush head and will not be able to be appropriately applied to the gums or teeth of the user. The brush head can be used for massaging and stimulating the gums of the user, but may also be used as an applicator for thin paste, oil, or the like. Also, the lengths of the bristles and the fact that they are made of silicone allows for the bristles to be positioned in a less densely packed configuration. This configuration allows for use and enjoyment by a greater number of people. For example, a user with no special needs or problems can use the brush head, but additionally a person with particularly sensitive teeth or gums will find the brush head more comfortable.

[0010] Another advantage is that because the brush head is two-sided, it allows for easier use of the brush without requiring that it be turned around. It also allows a user to apply paste or oil on both sides of the toothbrush in order to increase efficiency. A user may apply the paste or oil on one side only or use two different pastes, gels, etc. This may be useful in some applications and cuts down on brushing or massaging time required because two different functions are performed at once.

[0011] Another advantage of the present invention is that because the brush head is a separate unit that engages with the shaft, the bristles contained on the brush head are never in direct contact with the handle as is common with other toothbrushes. This configuration allows for greater flexibility with the brush head and allows the bristles to bend at their point of connection. This is not easily done with the prior toothbrushes because when the bristles are attached to the handle itself, they do not bend as easily at the point of connection.

[0012] Another advantage is that the brush head attachment attaches to the handle with a snap-fit, enabling the head unit to be easily replaced and also making it more eco-friendly. This means that the brush portion and the handle portion are separately replaceable. The fact that each part may be replaced at different times cuts down both on replacement costs, but also the number of replacement parts that are thrown away.

[0013] Yet another advantage is the gap that is created between the brush head and the handle. This provides some air cushioning when using the brush. This gap makes the toothbrush head softer and gentler on the gums to avoid injuries while brushing. The cushioning effect can be beneficial for user's with particularly sensitive teeth or gums or merely by any common user as it is recommended to use only soft bristled brushes to obtain the best results while avoiding injuries.

[0014] Still another advantage is that the hardened plastic portion of the brush handle is entirely covered by the brush head. Because the entire handle portion of the oral brush is comprised of hardened material, this material can cause trauma to the teeth or gums when it comes in contact with them. With the present invention, however, this hardened material is covered entirely by the cushioned soft brush head. This brush head is comprised of soft silicone or elastomeric material which reduces the chance of trauma to the teeth or gums. This means that the gums and teeth of the user are protected from being touched by the hardened material which could otherwise cause discomfort.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The present invention will be better understood from the following detailed description of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to like parts and in which:

[0016] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the device utilizing the brush head;

[0017] FIG. 2 is a top view of the assembled apparatus;

[0018] FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and

[0019] FIG. 4 is and exploded view of the brush head of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the device utilizing the brush head. An elongated handle 10 has a top and bottom face, and opposite first and second ends and a first releasable attachment formation at the first end of the handle. The handle 10 can be any shape that provides for ease of use while a user is holding the device. A few examples of possible shapes for the handle include rectangular, oblong, or cylindrical. A brush head 12 can be attached to the handle 10. The brush head 12 has first and second ends and a top and a bottom face. Extending orthogonally from both the top and bottom faces of the brush head 12 are a plurality of bristles 14. The brush head 12 can be attached to the handle 10 by a snap-fit type attachment 20. The snap fit attachment 20 engages to secure into place with the handle 10 via a mating snap fit hole for engagement 19. Additionally, those skilled in the art will recognize that there are other types of attachments that may appropriately be used. The bristles 14 are shorter than a regular brush thus providing the advantage that applied paste or oils do not fall to the bottom of the brush head 12 like with regular brushes. There are many various configurations of bristle types that can be used with the present brush. The bristles 14 on the top face and the bottom face can be either of the same or of different lengths. Additionally, the bristles 14 on the top and bottom faces can be of either the same or varying thicknesses and can be more or less densely configured depending on whether the bristles are positioned closer or further apart from each other.

[0021] The brush head 12 can include an elongate member 18 that extends from the first end of the brush head 12 for releasable attachment to the handle 10. The elongate member 18 contains a socket piece 11 at a first end that engages with the brush head 12 to allow the elongate member 18 to engage at a second end with the handle 10. The brush head 12 may have a hollow 13 created between its top and bottom faces. This hollow 13 permits the brush head 12 to be more resilient.

[0022] FIG. 2 is a top view of the assembled apparatus and FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2. The brush head 12 is attached to the handle 10 and also to the elongate member 18 of the brush head 12. The brush head 12 also has an attachment formation 20 for releasable attachment to an attachment formation at an end of the handle 10. The attachment of the brush head 12 to the elongate member 18 defines a gap 22 between the two. This gap 22 provides some air cushioning when the brush is used by a user. This is advantageous because such a gap 22 makes the brush head 12 softer and gentler on the gums that helps avoid injuries to the user while brushing.

[0023] FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the brush head of FIG. 3. This illustrations emphasizes the gap 22 that provides air cushioning for ease of use by a user. Additionally, the brush head may have a hollow 13 that is created between the top and bottom faces of the brush head. The hollow 13 allows the brush head to be more resilient while being used.

[0024] Although an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described above by way of example only, it will be understood by those skilled in the field that modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiment without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.