Title:
Grooved brush bristle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved bristle for toothbrushes having a spiral groove along the longitudinal shaft of the bristle to increase the abrasiveness and expand the surface area of the bristle used in cleaning, the grooved bristle is combined into tufts and mounted on a suitable platform so that when the surface to be cleaned is scrubbed with a toothbrush having the improved bristle of the invention the bristles twist and bend and in the process the shaft of the bristle scrapes on the surface to be cleaned and agitates the fluid in and around the area to be cleaned thereby increasing the cleaning ability of the brush.



Inventors:
Edward III, Buford T. (Silver Spring, MD, US)
Application Number:
09/912692
Publication Date:
06/26/2003
Filing Date:
07/26/2001
Assignee:
BUFORD EDWARD T.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/400, 15/167.1
International Classes:
F02M3/09; (IPC1-7): A46B9/04; D02G3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nigel L. Scott, Esquire (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:

What I claim is:



1. A bristle consisting of a base end, and a tip end connected to each other by means of a substantially rigid shaft portion wherein said substantially rigid shaft of said bristle has at least one shallow spiral groove along its longitudinal axis and wherein said substantially rigid shaft is sufficiently flexible so that said bristle will twist, bend and rotate on its axis when said base end of said bristle is held in a fixed position on a brush device and vertical and horizontal pressures applied to the tip of said bristle in a brushing motion such that the twisting, bending and rotating of said bristle upon the application of vertical and horizontal pressure on the tip of said bristle causes the tip of said bristle and said substantially rigid shaft of said bristle to become an abrasive device with respect to the surfaces to be cleaned and wherein said twisting, bending and rotating of said bristle increases with the application of increased pressure on the tip of said bristle.

2. The bristle as claimed in claim 1 wherein the cross-sectional diameter of said spiral groove is approximately 10 to 15 percent of the cross-sectional diameter of said bristle and wherein said at least one spiral groove on said bristle runs either in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction and wherein on an individual bristle said at least one spiral groove run in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction as desired, to facilitate the removal of plaque and other waste materials during the cleaning process.

3. A bristle as claimed in claim 1 wherein said bristle has at least one spiral groove along said substantially rigid shaft and wherein said groove is of uniform diameter throughout the length of said substantially rigid shaft and wherein the ratio of the diameter of said bristle to the diameter of said spiral groove is approximately 4:1.

4. The bristle claimed in claim 10 wherein said bristle made of a plastic material and wherein said bristle is of such flexibility as to be capable of bending and rotating on an axis of thirty to ninety degrees when used in scrubbing or cleaning.

5. A bristle as claimed in claim 1 for use in toothbrushes said bristle consisting of a base end, and a tip end connected to each other by a substantially rigid shaft portion and wherein said base end of said bristle is maintained in a fixed position on the head of said toothbrush and wherein said substantially rigid shaft of said bristle has at least one shallow spiral groove along its longitudinal axis and wherein said bristle is capable of standing substantially rigid on the head of said toothbrush but is sufficiently flexible so that said bristle will twist, bend and rotate on its axis, but remains substantially rigid when vertical and horizontal pressures are applied to the tip of said bristle during brushing and such that the twisting, bending and rotating of said bristle upon the application of vertical and horizontal pressure on the tip of said bristle causes the tip end of said bristle and substantially rigid shaft of said bristle to act as an abrasive device with respect to the surfaces to be cleaned, and wherein the twisting, bending and abrasiveness of said substantially rigid shaft causes said toothbrush to be a more effective cleanser and wherein the application of vertical and horizontal pressure in a back and forth scrubbing motion on the tip of said bristle causes said bristle to twist and rotate in the manner of an agitator of a washing machine, thereby producing fluid cross currents in the saliva and forces the saliva into the spaces in and around the teeth and gums and wherein the twisting and bending of said shaft of said bristle increases the contacts between said shaft of said bristle and the surface of the teeth and gums so that said groove on said shaft of said bristle acts as an abrasive device to remove foreign particles lodged between and around the teeth and gums.

6. A brush device for use in cleaning and scrubbing including a bristle receiving body portion having a plurality of substantially rigid bristles disposed therein and wherein said body portion of said device has a plurality of holes adapted for receiving said bristles and wherein said bristles are arranged in tufts of bristles and wherein each of said bristles has at least one spiral groove along the longitudinal axis of said substantially rigid shaft of said bristle wherein the scrubbing action of said brush device causes said bristle to bend and twist about its axis and to agitate liquid substances which are present in the area to be cleaned and wherein the tips of said bristles and said substantially rigid shaft of said bristles act as cleaning surfaces and whereby said longitudinal axis having said spiral groove acts as an extended scraping device with respect to the surface to be cleaned.

7. A toothbrush having a head portion and a handle portion wherein said head portion has a plurality of holes adapted for receiving tufts of bristles in each hole and wherein each tuft consists of not less than ten bristles each of said bristles having at least one spiral groove along the longitudinal axis of said bristle and wherein upon the application of pressure to the tips of said bristles and use of a scrubbing action thereon said bristle bends and rotates and agitates saliva in the mouth and wherein said tips and said longitudinal axis of said bristles act as cleaning surfaces with respect to the teeth and gums and whereby said longitudinal axis having said spiral grooves acts as an extended scraping device for the removal of waste materials, including plaque, from the teeth and gums.

8. A brush device as claimed in claim 7 wherein said at least one spiral groove on said bristle runs either in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction and wherein on an individual bristle said at least on spiral groove runs clockwise or counterclockwise, only, and wherein said bristle when arranged in tufts of bristles said at least one spiral groove on said bristle comprising said tufts of bristles all run in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 08/654,541 filed Jun. 4, 1996, now abandoned, for the Twist Bristle Toothbrush and Ser. No. 09/190,275 filed Nov. 13, 1998, now abandoned, for Grooved Bristle for Brush Devices.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to a bristle for brushes and more particularly to an improved bristle for use in toothbrushes and other cleaning and scrubbing brushes. The bristle of this invention has a shallow spiral groove along its longitudinal axis, on account of which the entire bristle, including the tip of the bristle and its longitudinal axis, functions as a part of the cleaning surface of the bristle. Consequently, the surface area of the bristle used in cleaning is expanded.

[0003] Gum disease, periodontics, continues to affect large sections of the population and is the major cause of tooth decay among adults. Studies show that after age thirty-five (35), approximately seventy-five (75) percent of all adults suffer from periodontal disease in one form or another. Although periodontal disease is generally referred to as a single disease, it actually occurs in several forms. Regardless of the form it takes, however, all periodontal diseases are caused by bacterial infections which first manifest themselves as an inflammation of the gums.

[0004] In its early stages, periodontal disease usually affects the color and shape of the gums. If the disease is not checked at this stage it can progress to the point of completely destroying the bony tissue in which the teeth are anchored. The cause of the disease is the presence of plaque, a colorless bacterial film which instantly forms on teeth and gums. To combat plaque formation, it is generally recommended that the teeth and gums must be brushed at least two (2) times daily, even so, plaque formation still continues to be a problem. The Grooved Bristle for Brush Devices will improve and increase the quantity of plaque removed from the teeth and gums, retard plaque formation, result in healthier teeth and gums and better oral hygiene.

[0005] It is well accepted that in conventional toothbrushes the major cleaning function is carried out by the tips of the bristles. The smooth shaft of the conventional toothbrush bristle is not designed or intended to be a part of the cleaning process. For example, in toothbrushes, most of the cleaning is done by the tip end of the bristle, the smooth and rounded shaft of the bristle plays an insignificant role in the cleaning process. The function of the shaft is even less effective when it comes to removal of plaque from the teeth and gums.

[0006] In the present invention, the tips of the bristles continue to be the primary cleaning area of the brush, however, the shaft of the bristle has been adapted so that it too becomes a part of the cleaning process. The use of the shaft as part of the cleaning process is achieved by placing one or more shallow spiral grooves on the shaft of the bristle thereby giving it the ability to scrape and clean the teeth and gums when the shaft passes against the teeth during mouth washing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] This invention is based on the scientific fact that when vertical pressure is exerted on the tip of a round bar or rod of metal or plastic, the bar or rod will bend or twist in response to the application of the pressure. It is also well known that if vertical pressure is applied to a rod which has a spiral groove, in single (or double) helix, similar to the bit of a mechanical bore or drill, it will take less vertical pressure to cause the spirally grooved rod to bend or twist angularly to accommodate the vertical pressure than a solid rod.

[0008] The foregoing principle which is applicable to the mechanical drill is also applicable to a thin rounded plastic bristle which has one or more shallow spiral grooves, similar to the grooves on the bit of a mechanical drill, along the length of its longitudinal axis. When vertical pressure is applied to this bristle it bends, however because the base of this bristle is fixed in place and can not rotate like the drill, the bristle cannot make 360 degree rotations like the mechanical drill. Instead, the bristle will only twist to a degree of approximately 30 to 90 degrees and will twist back and forth on its axis in a motion similar to the agitator of a washing machine.

[0009] The cleansing power of a brush which utilizes the bristle of this invention is created by the application of pressure on the tip of the bristle while simultaneously moving the brush backwards and forwards in a vibratory motion against the surface to be cleaned. The application of the vertical pressure to the bristle coupled with a the back and forth motion will cause the tip of the bristle to twist and to sway backwards and forwards and produce the desired results.

[0010] With respect to the use of the bristle of this invention in toothbrushes, the back and forth agitating action of the bristle generates fluid cross currents in the saliva which works its way around and between the teeth. The flow of saliva washes the teeth and gums and removes food particles and other undesirable objects, including plague, from around and between the teeth and gums. The grooves on the bristle also act as conduits for the removal of the plaque and other waste products from around the teeth and gums.

[0011] Toothbrushes which utilize the grooved bristle of this invention are very effective in removing plague and cleansing the teeth. They provide the same general cleansing power as electric or battery powered rotating bristles and have the advantage over the powered brushes that they do not pose a risk of causing damage to the gums due to excessive abrasion and do not present a threat of electrocution. In addition, the grooved bristle toothbrush does not pose the problems caused by the vibrations of ultrasonic toothbrushes which create a risk of causing damage to the tissue in the users mouth.

[0012] The bristle of this invention greatly increases the cleaning power of the toothbrush, shortens the cleaning time, does not increase abrasion, is tissue safe and inexpensive. In addition, the invention produces an improved bristle for cleaning brushes which results in a more effective cleaning tool than the bristles now utilized in brushes.

[0013] In accordance with the invention, the longitudinal axis or shaft of the bristle is marked, longitudinally, with at least one shallow spiral groove such that the external surface of the bristle has the appearance of a helix, mechanical drill bit or candy cane. These grooves may run either clockwise or counterclockwise on an individual bristle, however, the grooves cannot run both clockwise and counterclockwise on the same bristle.

[0014] When the bristle is used to clean the teeth, the pressure on the tips of the bristle, and the spiral groove on the bristle coupled with the back and forth motion used in brushing the teeth, causes the bristles to twist, bend, and sway back and forth in the manner of an agitator of a washing machine, thereby producing cross currents in the saliva in the mouth. The motion of the saliva in and around the teeth and gums enhances the cleaning function of the bristle and brush.

[0015] The improved cleaning achieved through the use of bristles of this toothbrush occurs as a result of the back and forth motion of the toothbrush causing saliva to enter the sulcus and create secondary cross currents to rinse the sulcus, resulting in more effective cleaning of the teeth and gums, healthier teeth and gums and fresher breath.

[0016] Accordingly, a primary object of this invention to produce an improved bristle for toothbrushes which is inexpensive, tissue safe and has enhanced cleaning abilities and which utilizes proven oral hygiene principles to prevent periodontal disease, gingivitis and tooth decay.

[0017] It is a further object of this invention to produce a toothbrush in which the shaft of each individual bristle includes one or more spiral grooves along its longitudinal axis which enhances the abrasiveness of the bristle, expands the surface area of the bristle used in cleaning and improves the cleaning of the teeth below the gum line.

[0018] Another object of the invention is to produce a bristle which when used with a back and forth brushing motion, bends, twists or rotates to create a flow of cross currents in the saliva for the purpose of rinsing the teeth and gums.

[0019] Yet another object of the invention is to produce a toothbrush which creates a cross current of saliva flow between and around the teeth and gums to remove subgingival plague.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a toothbrush showing the arrangement of the bristles on the head of a typical brush.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side view of a toothbrush showing tufts of bristles embedded in the head of the toothbrush.

[0022] FIG. 2A is an end view of a toothbrush showing tufts of bristles.

[0023] FIG. 3 is a side view of a toothbrush showing the shafts (4) of bristles on the head of the brush.

[0024] FIG. 4 is an enlarged vertical view of an individual bristle showing the symmetrical positioning of the spiral grooves on the surface of the bristle.

[0025] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of an individual bristle at the position 5-5 showing the size of the grooves of the bristle in relation to the cross-sectional diameter of the bristle. In the drawing, “r1” represents the radius of the bristle and “R2” the radius of the spiral groove, “d1” represents the diameter of the bristle and “D2” the diameter of the spiral groove.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0026] With particular reference to the drawings, toothbrush bristles are used to illustrate the bristle structure of the instant invention. Although the bristle and brush construction herein illustrated are in association with a toothbrush and have special application to such a brush, it is to be understood that the concept may be used with almost any type of brush and is not limited to use in the construction of toothbrushes.

[0027] As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 2A and 3, generally, the individual bristles 14 are mounted in tufts 11 and embedded in a base (head) 10, which is attached to a manual or power activated handle. In practice the arrangement of the bristle into tufts on the base is important to the achievement of enhanced cleansing power of the device. Specifically, all of the bristles in a single tuft of bristles must either run clockwise or counterclockwise, i.e. the spiral grooves on the longitudinal axis of the bristle cannot be mixed so that some grooves will run clockwise and others run counterclockwise.

[0028] On the other hand, the arrangement of the tufts on the head of an individual toothbrush does not have to be uniform. For example, an individual toothbrush manufacturer may decide that for purposes of practice or convenience, it may be preferable to have alternating rows of tufts of bristles organized in clockwise or counterclockwise form, or the tufts may be organized in a random arrangement selected by the manufacturer.

[0029] FIG. 4, shows an individual bristle with the shallow grooves forming a helix shaped pattern along the outside surface of the shaft of the bristle, the groove extends continuously from the stem of the bristle which is embedded in the toothbrush head, to the tip of the bristle. It should also be noted that both the spiral grooves and the individual bristles are of uniform diameter throughout the length of the shaft. The relationship of the diameter of each groove to the diameter of the bristle is approximately 4:1 i.e. the diameter of each groove is approximately one fourth of the diameter of the bristle. The cross-sectional diameter of each spiral groove is ten to fifteen percent of the cross sectional diameter of each bristle.

[0030] For the purposes of this invention, the tips of the individual bristles may be round, square or shaped in any other form suitable or appropriate for the invention. The shaft of the bristle is unbroken and of uniform cross-sectional diameter and circumference except in the region of the spiral grooves. In addition, further reference to FIGS. 4 and 5 shows that there may be more than one spiral groove on each bristle, however, regardless of the number of grooves on an individual bristle the grooves will all run in the same direction i.e either clockwise or counterclockwise.

[0031] In practice, the cleaning effect of the brush is accomplished by virtue of the simultaneous action of the individual bristles which are put into its own rotational motion by the back and forth vibratory action when the user brushes his teeth. The force generated by the action of numerous bristles produces liquid currents in the saliva which can dislodge particles trapped between and around the teeth and gums and improve the cleaning of the teeth, the removal of plaque and the prevention of plaque formation.

[0032] The grooved bristle of this invention has been particularly described as being symmetrical through its length, however, the invention may also use non-symmetrical or tapered bristles having other shapes or structures as may be desired.