Title:
Mouth brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mouth brush having a frame with first and second ends defining a longitudinal axis and formed from a solid material such as hard plastic. Conventional tooth brush bristles are mounted on the first end of the frame and extend down to define a first orientation perpendicular to the axis. Soft rubber nubs are mounted on the first end and extend perpendicularly from the axis in all other directions from the first orientation. These nubs are sufficiently soft to gently massage all oral tissue without changing one's toothbrushing routine. The device minimizes exfoliation of tissue layers in the mouth. A second material is also formed on the frame as a handle portion. The handle portion may be a soft material such as soft rubber so as to increase the user's grip when wet with water.



Inventors:
Jacobs, Scott (Lakewood, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/955031
Publication Date:
03/30/2006
Filing Date:
09/29/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/106, 15/167.1
International Classes:
A46B9/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of John S. Munday (Isanti, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A mouth brush device, comprising: a frame with first and second ends defining a longitudinal axis and formed from a solid material; tooth brush bristles mounted on the first end of the frame and extend up to define a first orientation perpendicular to the axis; soft nubs mounted on the first end and extending perpendicularly from the axis in all other directions from the first orientation; and a second material formed on the frame as a handle portion for gripping said device.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said solid material is a hard plastic.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said hard plastic is polypropylene.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein said soft nubs are made from soft rubber.

5. The device of claim 4, wherein said soft rubber is selected from the group consisting of styrenic block copolymers, thermoplastic vulcanizates and thermoplastic polyurethane.

6. The device of claim 5, wherein said rubber is sufficiently soft to minimize exfoliation of tissue in the mouth.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein said second material is a soft rubber.

8. The device of claim 7, wherein said second material and said soft nubs are both formed from the same material.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein said soft nubs and said second material are molded on to said hard material in a single molding step.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein said handle is selected from the group consisting of hand held toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes.

11. A mouth brush device, comprising: frame means with first and second ends for defining a longitudinal axis and formed from a solid material; tooth brush bristles mounted on the first end of the frame and extend down to define a first orientation perpendicular to the axis; soft nub means for massaging the interior of the mouth during brushing mounted on the first end and extending perpendicularly from the axis in all other directions from the first orientation; and second material means formed on the frame for forming a handle portion for gripping said device.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein said solid material is a hard plastic.

13. The device of claim 12, wherein said hard plastic is polypropylene.

14. The device of claim 11, wherein said soft nub means are made from soft rubber.

15. The device of claim 14, wherein said soft rubber is selected from the group consisting of styrenic block copolymers, thermoplastic vulcanizates and thermoplastic polyurethane.

16. The device of claim 15, wherein said rubber is sufficiently soft to minimize exfoliation of tissue in the mouth.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein said second material is a soft rubber.

18. The device of claim 17, wherein said second material and said soft nub means are both formed from the same material.

19. The device of claim 18, wherein said soft nub means and said second material are molded on to said hard material in a single molding step.

20. The device of claim 16, wherein said handle is selected from the group consisting of hand held toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a brush for use with tooth paste. More particularly, the present invention relates a mouth brush that massages portions of the mouth during use of the device as a tooth brush.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Tooth brushes have been part of the normal routine of people for a long, long time. The dental industry, including dentists, oral hygienists, tooth brush and tooth paste manufacturers, and many others have successfully encouraged the use of a tooth brush on a regular schedule as part of normal life routines.

A variety of designs have been proposed for tooth brushes, some having simple, straightforward configurations and others having designs, artistic flairs and the like. U.S. Pat. No. 1,125,532 is one example of a conventional tooth brush.

In addition, some tooth brushes have other components that attempt to accomplish additional functions. U.S. Pat. No. 5,119,522 teaches that braces can be cleaned with its design. U.S. Pat. No. 6,308,365 provides a tooth brush for false teeth. U.S. Pat. No. 6,254,390 discloses a tooth brush with a “U” shaped head to contact more than one surface of the teeth at one time.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,119,296 discloses an all-sided mouth brush having a variety of alternate cleaning devices on the three sides that do not have the toothbrush bristles. This patent teaches the use of a plurality of parallel ridges, or a plurality of spade headed bristles, or offset rows of bristle-like structures, or a series of templates that removeably fit on to the device as desired. None of the various cleaning devices in U.S. Pat. No. 6,119,296 are formed from soft rubber in the shape of a nub, and this patent does not suggest the idea that portions of the mouth may be gently messaged and stimulated to promote general health. In point of fact, U.S. Pat. No. 6,119,296 specifically states that interchangeable bristle type or rigid structures are adapted to be connected over the alternative cleaning portion of the device. Cleaning is the stated goal of this patentee.

None of the prior art discloses another purpose for tooth brushes, which is to gently massage the soft vital oral tissue including the tongue, cheeks, and gums of the user while the user is brushing his or her teeth in a normal fashion.

One embodiment of the present invention is to provide device for massaging the inside of the user's mouth while brushing the teeth.

Another embodiment is to provide a device for massaging the mouth that is sufficiently gentle to avoid significant exfoliation of tissue layers in the mouth.

Yet another embodiment is to provide a simple, effective mouth brush that can be made in a double molding step.

Other embodiments will appear hereinafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is admirably suited for use as a mouth brush. The device includes a frame with first and second ends defining a longitudinal axis and formed from a solid material such as hard plastic. Conventional tooth brush bristles are mounted on the first end of the frame and extend down to define a first orientation perpendicular to the axis.

Soft rubber nubs are also mounted on that first end and extend perpendicularly from the axis in all other directions from the first orientation. These nubs are sufficiently soft to avoid exfoliation of tissue layers in the mouth. A preferred second material is also formed on the frame as a handle portion. The handle portion may be a soft material such as soft rubber so as to increase the user's grip when wet with water. Both the soft nubs and the handle can be molded on to the frame in one molding or over-molding step.

The mouth brush of this invention may be made as a hand held brush or it may be made as an electric brush that attaches to a conventional electric toothbrush device.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a plan or bottom view of a device according to the present invention;

FIG. 1B is a side elevational view of the device shown in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1C is a top view of the device shown in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 2A is a plan or top view of another device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2B is a side elevational view of the device shown in FIG. 2A; and

FIG. 2C is a bottom view of the device shown in FIG. 2A.

In the figures, like reference characters designate identical or corresponding components and units throughout the several views.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a mouth brush 10 generally, shown as a hand held toothbrush and mouth brush in FIGS. 1A-C and as an attachment to an electric toothbrush in FIGS. 2A-C. The mouth brush has a hard frame having a first end 11 and a second end 13, defining a longitudinal axis 15. The frame is hard enough that it holds its shape when used as a brush, and is preferably made from a hard plastic that is suitably safe for use in a person's mouth. Polypropylene is most preferred, but any material normally used now or in the future for toothbrushes may be used.

Bristles 17 are mounted on the second end 13 and extend up from the axis 15 to define a first orientation generally perpendicular to the axis. It is understood that generally perpendicular is meant to define the typical orientation of bristles on a toothbrush and includes other angled alignments of bristles to handle, including fancy designs.

Soft nubs 19 are also mounted on the first end 11 of the frame and extend generally perpendicularly from the axis 15 in all other directions from the first orientation. In FIGS. 1A, 1C, 2A and 2C, soft nubs 19 are at a 90° angle with respect to bristles 17, and in FIGS. 1B and 2B are at a 180° angle with respect to bristles 17. Soft nubs 19 are formed from a soft material such as soft rubber, such as thermoplastic elastomers including styrenic block copolymers, thermoplastic vulcanizates and thermoplastic polyurethane. Many soft rubbers are available commercially, such as from GLS Corporation in McHenry, Ill. Soft nubs 19 may be attached to first end 11 in any manner. Preferred is to mold nubs 19 on to first end 11 of a molded handle.

Also formed on the frame is a handle portion 21, which is preferably a material similar to or identical to the nub 19 material. Soft rubber as described above is most preferred. In a preferred method of making the mouth brush of this invention, both soft nubs 19 and handle material 21 are molded on to the frame at one time, leaving exposed some portions of first end 11 and second end 13. Of course, logos and other indicia may also be added during or after the molding process.

The device of the present invention may be configured as a hand held device as shown in FIGS. 1A-C or it may be configured as an electric toothbrush attachment, shown in Fits. 2A-C, having a suitable opening 14 for attachment to the electric device. It is recognized that various electric toothbrushes are available and it is intended to provide the mouth brush of this invention to any and all of the commercially available products. For that reason, the end 14 will be specific to the particular product for which it is intended. The present invention does not depend on any specific form of electric toothbrush, recognizing that individual designs may require specific attachment configurations or components. In FIGS. 2B and 2C, nubs 19a are stationary and interact with soft tissue when the device is moved from one location to the next during brushing. In FIG. 2A, part 23 of a typical electric toothbrush rotates as Illustrated by arrow 24, and part 25 reciprocates back and forth as illustrated by arrow 26. Those parts 23 and/or 25 having soft nubs 19 will also contact soft tissue in the mouth during use of the device.

The device of the present invention functions in two distinct and important manners. First, it is a conventional toothbrush with bristles 17 for brushing the user's teeth. Second, it is a mouth brush such that soft nubs 19 gently massage soft vital oral tissue, including the tongue, inside of the cheeks, lips, palate, gums and the intersections of these parts of the oral cavity. The soft nubs 19 are designed to flex, and are sufficiently soft to not exfoliate tissue layers that would happen if bristles or other coarser materials were employed as a massage agent. The soft, gentle massage of the mouth brush of this invention is believed to contribute to improved mouth care to preserve or maintain healthy mouth soft tissues, and this is accomplished during ordinary tooth brushing steps.

It is known that the oral cavity can be afflicted with numerous ailments including, but not limited to burning mouth syndrome, canker sores, dry mouth/xerostomia, oral thrush, aphthous stomatitis, lichen plonus and halitosis. It is theorized, but not clinically documented, that the mouth brush of this invention may be able to stimulate saliva production and additional blood flow levels to the vital tissues in the oral cavity by gently massaging soft oral tissues and glands.

Specifically, dry mouth may be caused by aging and metabolic changes, prescription and nonprescription drugs, diseases such at Sjogren's syndrome and lupus, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. To a lesser degree, every day habits such as using tobacco products, caffeine and alcohol consumption or mouthwashes can cause mouth problems. Talking for long periods of time, nervousness, snoring, being exposed to dust, paint, Irritants and dry heading conditions can also cause dry mouth. A non chemical method of stimulating saliva flow such as the present invention would be extremely important to the estimated 30% of adults in the United States affected by dry mouth or xerostomia.

A return to normal saliva flow is essential for taste, swallowing, digestion, healthy gums and teeth, voice and speech articulation. Saliva also helps prevent potentially severe dental problems, and provides a first defense against chemical, mechanical and infectious attacks, and the present invention is believed to cause increased saliva flow.

The mouth brush of this invention is also designed to promote increased blood circulation b gently massaging oral tissues not addressed by normal brushing alone. These areas include the tongue, inside of checks and the palate, and the gums. Increased blood circulation to these areas increases the healing process and promotes vital and healthy oral tissue, all in accordance with the present invention.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended to limit the invention, except as defined by the following claims.





 
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