Title:
Disposable cover for toothbrush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toothbrush cover comprising a sheet of material is provided for wrapping about toothbrush bristles for protecting a toothbrush between uses. The sheet protects the head and bristles of the toothbrush by providing a protective seal around same. A stack of sheets is provided, with liners disposed between the sheets to separate the sheets for use. A container for holding a stack of sheets is provided, and includes one or more pins for engagement with one or more apertures on the sheets to align the sheets in a stack. A roll of protective sheets is provided, wherein individual sheets can be withdrawn from a roll dispenser for use.



Inventors:
Coppa, Lawrence (Point Pleasant, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/685822
Publication Date:
04/21/2005
Filing Date:
10/15/2003
Assignee:
COPPA LAWRENCE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/362.3
International Classes:
B65D65/10; B65D83/08; B65D85/672; (IPC1-7): B65D83/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, JERROLD D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCCARTER & ENGLISH, LLP NEWARK (NEWARK, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A protective toothbrush cover comprising a sheet for wrapping a head and bristles of a toothbrush to protect the toothbrush from contamination.

2. The cover of claim 1, wherein the sheet clings to itself to retain the sheet about the head and bristles.

3. The cover of claim 2, wherein the sheet comprises a plastic material.

4. The cover of claim 2, wherein the sheet is square.

5. The cover of claim 2, wherein the sheet is rectangular.

6. The cover of claim 2, wherein the sheet is sized to be wrapped about the head and bristles of a toothbrush.

7. A plurality of protective toothbrush cover sheets, each of the cover sheets adapted to be wrapped about a head and bristles of a toothbrush.

8. The plurality of sheets of claim 7, wherein the sheets are arranged in a stack.

9. The plurality of sheets of claim 7, wherein the sheets are secured together at one end.

10. The plurality of sheets of claim 7, further comprising liners for separating the plurality of sheets.

11. The plurality of sheets of claim 7, further comprising a dispensing container for holding the stack of sheets.

12. The plurality of sheets of claim 10, wherein the dispensing container is open on one side to allow sheets to be withdrawn from the container.

13. The plurality of sheets of claim 10, wherein the dispensing container has pins and the sheets have corresponding apertures, the pins insertable through the apertures to align the stack of sheets.

14. The plurality of sheets of claim 10, wherein the plurality of sheets are fan folded.

15. The plurality of sheets of claim 7, wherein the plurality of sheets are formed in a roll.

16. A protective sheet dispenser for dispensing protective sheets for a toothbrush, the dispenser comprising: a container; a roll of protective sheets rotatably mounted in the container; and a cutting edge for cutting individual sheets from the roll of protective sheets.

17. The dispenser of claim 16, wherein the container comprises a top plate having a retention tabs attached to opposite edges of the top plate.

18. The dispenser of claim 17, wherein the top plate comprises apertures for mounting the dispenser to a surface.

19. The dispenser of claim 16, wherein the cutting edge comprises a serrated edge.

20. The dispenser of claim 16, further comprising a toothbrush positioned against a portion of a sheet extending from the roll, the portion of the sheet depressed against the toothbrush by a user's finger.

21. The dispenser of claim 20, wherein the sheet is torn against the sharp edge to cut an individual sheet from the roll for use.

22. A method of protecting a toothbrush from contamination, comprising: providing a sheet; positioning the head and bristles of a toothbrush on the sheet; and wrapping the sheet around the toothbrush head to form a protective seal about the toothbrush head.

23. The method of claim 22, further comprising: removing the sheet from around the toothbrush; discarding the sheet; using the toothbrush; and wrapping a new sheet around the toothbrush to protect the toothbrush from contamination.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein the step of providing the sheet comprises removing the sheet from a stack of a plurality of sheets.

25. The method of claim 24, further comprising removing a liner from the stack of a plurality of sheets.

26. The method of claim 25, further comprising discarding the liner.

27. The method of claim 22, wherein the step of providing the sheet comprises dispensing the sheet from a roll of protective sheets.

28. The method of claim 27, further comprising tearing the sheet from the roll of protective sheets.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a toothbrush cover and specifically to a disposable sheet for wrapping about a toothbrush for protecting the toothbrush head and bristles from contamination between uses.

2. Related Art

It is desirable to cover the bristles of a toothbrush when not in use to protect the toothbrush from contamination by dirt and germs. Typically, between uses, toothbrushes are placed in wall holders or cup holders by a sink, leaving the toothbrush head and bristles exposed to the environment. When traveling, toothbrushes are typically stored in rigid plastic containers that encase the entire handle and brush head of the toothbrush. These containers take up substantial storage space, which is inconvenient, especially when traveling. Also, these containers cannot be inserted into wall-mounted toothbrush holders or stands. Further, such containers are used repeatedly and toothbrushes are left in the containers for long periods of time, providing a moist environment for the growth of germs in the container and on the brush bristles.

Thus, a disposable cover for protecting a toothbrush from contamination and maintaining the bristles in a sanitary condition between uses is desired and has heretofore not been available. Also, it would be desirable to provide a cover which is less bulky than a conventional rigid container.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a disposable cover for a toothbrush in the form of a sheet of plastic film material adapted to be wrapped about the head of a toothbrush.

A plurality of sheets of the present invention can be provided in the form of a stack. The sheets may be secured together at one end. Liners may be disposed between each protective sheet. One at a time, sheets are pulled from the stack and wrapped about a toothbrush. The liners, if present, are pulled from the stack when exposed and are discarded. The stack of sheets can be positioned in a dispensing container to hold the stack of sheets.

In another aspect of the present invention, the protective sheets are provided on a roll. A roll dispenser with a serrated edge could be used to dispense sheets. The dispenser could be wall-mounted. A user can place a toothbrush on a sheet, grab the sheet between the user's finger and the toothbrush, pull the sheet to extend it to a desired length, and then contact the sheet against the edge to tear the sheet from the roll for use.

The present invention further provides a method of protecting a toothbrush from contamination by dirt and germs. The method includes providing a sheet of plastic film material, placing the head of a toothbrush in contact with the sheet, wrapping the sheet around the toothbrush head, and allowing the sheet to cling to itself to form a protective seal about the toothbrush head.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Other important objects and features of the invention will be apparent from the following Detailed Description of the Invention taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGS. 1A and 1B are perspective views of a stack of sheets according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the stack of sheets shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a sheet of the present invention with a toothbrush positioned thereon in a first orientation.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a sheet of the present invention with a toothbrush positioned thereon in another orientation.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the sheet of FIG. 4 folded over a toothbrush head.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a stack of sheets positioned in a dispensing container according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing a roll of sheets in a roll dispenser according to the present invention.

FIGS. 8A-8C are side views showing operation of the dispenser of FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to disposable sheets for wrapping about a toothbrush. The sheets of the present invention comprise a plastic film material. The sheet material is self-adhering, that is, the material releasably clings or sticks to itself so that no additional adhesive or fastening means is required to secure the sheet about a toothbrush other than to wrap it around the toothbrush and about itself. The sheet may be pulled off to remove it from the toothbrush when desired and discarded. After the toothbrush has been used, a new sheet can be wrapped about the toothbrush to protect it from dirt and contamination until the next use of the toothbrush. The sheet is sized to wrap around a toothbrush head, and about the handle proximate to the toothbrush head, to provide complete coverage and protection to the bristles and head. A stack of sheets can be provided in a dispensing container. A roll of sheets can be provided in a roll dispenser.

The invention provides a compact and easy means of protecting a toothbrush from contaminating dirt and germs, and maintains the brush in a sanitary condition. The wrapped toothbrush may conveniently be stored in any manner between uses in the same way that toothbrushes are normally stored, for example, in a standard, wall-mounted toothbrush or cup stand. When the toothbrush is used, the sheet is removed and discarded, and a new sheet is applied after the brush is used.

The sheet of the invention may be of any shape, and is preferably square or rectangular. The sheet can be formed of any known, suitable material such as plasticized packaging films including polyethylene or polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC). One example of such a material is that sold by The Dow Chemical Company under the brand name SARAN WRAP®. Preferably, the material has a sufficient inherent “cling” property such that when folded or wrapped onto itself, the material is attracted to itself and remains in place. Such cling property is well-known in the art, and can be caused by tackifying agents introduced into the material, or otherwise caused.

The sheets may also be coated with a non-toxic bactericide to further ensure that the toothbrush bristles wrapped in a sheet remain contaminant and/or germ-free.

As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, a plurality of sheets 10 may be assembled into a stack 20. The sheets in the stack can be held together by a securing means 25 on one end of the stack. As shown in FIG. 1A, the securing means can be rivets, staples, tacks, adhesives and the like. Adhesive, such as glue, double-sided tape, or releasable adhesive material can be used. The adhesive is applied to an edge of each sheet in the stack. In the case of releasable adhesive, sheets are removed by lifting one sheet off the sheet below it. In the case of a stronger adhesive or other securing means, each sheet can be removed by tearing or pulling the sheet away from the adhered portion. The sheets can be provided with perforations adjacent the securing means so that the sheet may easily be torn from the stack. As shown in FIG. 1B, the stack may have holes 26 punched through all the sheets and the stack may be placed on a stand having projections or clips which may be inserted through the holes. In such an embodiment, each sheet is removed from the stack by lifting the sheet off the stack or tearing or pulling the sheet away from the clip or projection.

As shown in FIG. 2, a liner 30 can be inserted between each sheet 10 to facilitate separation of the sheets from the stack 20 by minimizing clinging of adjacent sheets to each other. The liners also keep the sheets in a substantially flat and smooth condition. The liners can be manufactured from any material suitable to prevent attraction or clinging between the sheets, such as tissue paper and the like.

A top or cover 31 and bottom 32 may be provided on the top and bottom of the stack to protect the sheets from contamination and to maintain a neat and orderly stack. The top and bottom may be a liner or other heavier weight, paper-like sheet.

As shown in FIG. 3, a sheet of the invention may be placed around a toothbrush head and secured by wrapping the ends of the sheet about and around the toothbrush head, covering the bristles. However, any method for wrapping the toothbrush head and bristles in the sheet is suitable, such that the sheet fully covers and seals the bristles and head of the toothbrush to prevent contamination.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show another way to wrap the sheet of the invention about a toothbrush 35 having head portion 36 and handle 37. Toothbrush head portion 36 is placed on the sheet 10. The upper portion of the sheet is folded down over the toothbrush head and over the lower half of the sheet and pressure is applied to the overlapping parts of the sheet to affix them to each other, or the folded sheet can be wrapped around the toothbrush.

As shown in FIG. 6, a stack of sheets 20 may be placed in a dispensing container 40. For use in a dispensing container, the stack may be formed with or without liners and with or without securing or attaching means on one edge of the stack. The dispensing container may have an opening on one or more sides. Any suitable dispensing container may be used for the sheets. For example, the sheets may be accordion folded with liners in between the sheets, and the sheets may be dispensed through the top slot of a box or like container.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the sheets in the form of a roll 55 and positioned in a roll dispenser, indicated generally at 50, for dispensing protective sheets. The dispenser 50 could be in the form of a container having a top plate 65 with apertures 70 for mounting the dispenser 50 on a surface. A pair of retention tabs 67 is attached to opposite edges of the dispenser 50 for hanging the roll 55. Arms 60 are connected to ends of the retention tabs 67, and are interconnected by a contact surface 62 having a sharp (e.g., serrated) edge 64 for cutting individual protective sheets from roll 55. The roll 55 is rotatably attached to and retained by the dispenser 50, to allow an individual sheet 80 to be removed therefrom for use. When the roll 55 is expended, a new roll can be substituted. Optionally, the dispenser 50 could be fabricated in the form of a stand-alone dispenser having a base portion. Such a dispenser could be placed on a countertop or other horizontal surface for use after brushing one's teeth.

FIGS. 8A-8C are side views showing one method of operation of the dispenser 50 shown in FIG. 7. As shown in FIG. 8A, the head area 92 of a user's toothbrush 90 is placed near a portion of a sheet 80 extending from roll 55. A finger 102 of the user's hand 100 (typically, the user's index finger) presses the sheet 80 against the toothbrush 90, so that the sheet 80 is secured between the user's finger 102 and the toothbrush 90. The user then pulls the sheet 80 and the toothbrush 90 away from the contact edge 62 and cutting edge 64.

As shown in FIG. 8B, the user pulls the sheet 80 from the roll 55 to extend the sheet 80 to a desired length from the roll 55 and below the cutting edge 64. Then, as shown in FIG. 8C, the sheet 80 is brought against the cutting edge 64 to cut an individual sheet. The sheet can then be used to wrap the toothbrush head and protect same in the manner described herein.

Having thus described the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the foregoing description is not intended to limit the spirit and scope thereof. What is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.