Title:
Combination inter-dental brush and container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A combination device having an appropriately sized Inter-Dental brush, which may take the place of dental floss, as desired, being fixed to a brush holder which in turn is removably mounted in a brush enclosure which is removably mounted on a tube of toothpaste.



Inventors:
Santoro, Salvatore Joseph (Somerset, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/032467
Publication Date:
07/13/2006
Filing Date:
01/10/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
222/93
International Classes:
A45D44/18; B65D35/24
View Patent Images:
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20030024546Toothpaste, toothbrush and dental floss containerFebruary, 2003Linttell



Primary Examiner:
STEITZ, RACHEL RUNNING
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SALVATORE J. SANTORO (FORT MYERS, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A combination brush and toothpaste containing device comprising: A. A generally cylindrical toothpaste tube having at least one longitudinal axis and containing therein toothpaste, said tube having at least two ends, one proximal and one distal situated on said longitudinal axis, said tube when filled with toothpaste being closed on the distal end to contain the toothpaste, said tube having an openable fixture attached to the proximal end to allow access to the contained toothpaste; B. A substantially transparent generally cylindrical intermediate brush enclosure removably attached to the end of said tube over said fixture; C. a removable, generally cylindrical cap mounted in said enclosure, said cap having two ends and being capable of complete removal from said enclosure; D. A brush mounted substantially axially on one end of said cap said brush being located and sized to fit within said enclosure when said cap is inserted in the enclosure with said brush toward the tube when said enclosure is mounted on said tube, said brush being visible through said enclosure; E. Said brush having a wedge or triangular profile and being generally conically shaped to fit between two adjacent human teeth, said conical shape being adapted to be inserted to a different depth between said teeth as desired.

2. A combination brush and toothpaste containing device comprising: A. A generally cylindrical tube filled with toothpaste, having a longitudinal axis and having two ends situated on said axis, one proximal end and one distal end, said distal end being closed to contain the toothpaste, said proximal end being formed into a shoulder and an openable neck portion, wherein said openable neck portion has a breakable closure to permit access to the contained toothpaste; B. a substantially transparent, generally cylindrical, intermediate brush enclosure having a longitudinal axis and two ends situated along said axis, a first end being removably mounted on the neck portion of the proximal end of said tube; C. a generally cylindrical cap removably mounted in the second end of said enclosure said cap having a longitudinal axis and two ends, the size of each end being adapted for insertion into the second end of said enclosure; E. a brush mounted on one end of said cap along the longitudinal axis of the cap said brush being located and sized to fit within and be visible through said enclosure when said cap is inserted in the enclosure with the brush containing end toward the tube when said enclosure is mounted on said tube.

3. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said enclosure has a female thread at one end.

4. A device is defined in claim 3 wherein said female thread is adapted to mate with a standard toothpaste tube thread.

5. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said breakable closure is a plastic material.

6. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said removable cap has two ends each of which is in a frusto-conical shape.

7. A device as defined in claim 6 wherein one end of said enclosure has an internal frusto-conical shape complementary to said removable cap.

8. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said brush has a general conical shape.

9. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said openable neck portion attached to the proximal end of said tube is a standard threaded toothpaste neck portion.

10. A device as defined in claim 8 wherein said conical shape is designed to fit between two adjacent human teeth and is adapted to be inserted to a different depth between the teeth, as desired, and depending on the available space between the teeth.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention generally relates to a new and improved combination brush, brush enclosure and container. More particularly the invention relates to a combination of a container with a removably attached, substantially transparent brush enclosure. The enclosure is capped with an Inter-Dental brush which is mounted on a brush holder or brush mount. The brush is normally situated within the enclosure during storage and transport. In use, as a replacement for dental floss, the brush can be used alone or can be inserted in the removably attached enclosure for convenience if desired.

2. Description of the Related Art

The art is replete with containers that have included toothpaste and other substances. Disclosures have been made of brushes, as well as other devices attached to these containers. Many of the containers have little to do with personal hygiene.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,935,192 to Spahr discloses a tube with a brush threaded directly onto the neck of the tube. A protective closure is provided so that the tube is closed and the brush is adequately protected when not in use.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,587,198 to Mureau discloses a combination nail lacquer container and applicator. Preferably the container is made of glass to allow observation of the contained material. The applicator brush is secured in the top of the container to receive lacquer from the container. The brush is situated within a cover to insure that an atmosphere of solvent vapor surrounds the brush during storage.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,832,981 to Breuhan is to a device for applying liquid adhesive or the like. The device has a brush fixed to a threaded brush holder which is mounted on a flexible wall container with a liquid feed being provided by a nozzle. The brush can be attached reversibly to the neck of the bottle so that it protrudes either into the container or out of the container.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,764,221 to Solenghi is to device for application of viscous products such as paste or liquids. The design, which employs a brush insures hermetical sealing and exact dosage.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,896,822 to Zimmerman discloses a brush applicator device having a squeezable bulb attached to a brush. The device, which may have any brush material including steel wool, can be used to brush teeth or silver or for any other purpose.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,726,386 to Schultz discloses a liquid nail polish applicator with a small bristle brush held in a cap for a bottle and has feed access from the bottle. One object of the disclosure is to keep the brush in a solvent atmosphere to prevent hardening.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,796,783 to Paulson discloses a dental floss dispenser located in a toothpaste tube cap or in the bottom of a toothpaste pump.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,028,158 to Fey discloses a toothbrush with means for attaching a toothpaste tube. The toothpaste can be fed centrally through the handle of the brush to the bristles.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,785,063 to DePinto discloses a combination toothbrush and drinking cup.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,970,989 to Litton discloses a makeup kit having a reservoir for cosmetic product together with an applicator for the product and a comb to be used with the product.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,395 to Tripp et al discloses an apparatus for collecting and transporting cell specimens.

Inter-Dental brushes of varying design are commercially available from Oral BĀ® and DENTEKĀ®

The personal hygiene solutions employed in the art have not been completely satisfactory. To date the art has not completely solved the problem of convenience, good dental hygiene with an Inter-Dental brush, easy portability and sanitary, tamperproof packaging, together with an aesthetically pleasing design. Thus it can be seen that a need exists for a highly portable, aesthetically pleasing, sanitary, tamperproof combination of toothpaste and brush capable of being used in place of dental floss.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The instant invention substantially overcomes many of the problems of the art with the added advantages of convenience, provision of good dental hygiene with an Inter-Dental brush, easy portability and sanitary, tamperproof packaging, together with an aesthetically pleasing design.

The invention includes a combination brush and toothpaste containing device which includes the following features:

  • A. Preferably a generally cylindrical container filled with toothpaste. The container is preferably in the form of a tube having a longitudinal axis and two ends situated on the axis, one proximal end and one distal end. The distal end is closed to contain the toothpaste. The proximal end is formed into a shoulder with a neck portion which preferably has a male thread. The neck portion is openable and has an easily breakable closure across the opening to permit access to the contained toothpaste while preventing premature dispersion of the toothpaste.
  • B. A substantially transparent intermediate brush enclosure is also provided. This enclosure is preferably generally cylindrical. The brush enclosure has a longitudinal axis and two ends situated on the axis. The first end of the brush enclosure is sealed and is removably mounted on the neck portion of the proximal end of the tube, preferably this first end has a female thread to mate with the thread on the neck portion.
  • C. A generally cylindrical cap is provided which is removably mounted in and selectively closes the second end of the brush enclosure. The cap has a longitudinal axis and two ends along that axis. The cap is sized for insertion of either of its ends into the second end of the enclosure.
  • D. An Inter-Dental brush is mounted on one end of the cap along its longitudinal axis. The brush is sized to fit within and to be visible through the enclosure when the end of the cap having the mounted brush is inserted in the enclosure. During storage or display, while the enclosure is mounted on the tube, the cap is inserted in the enclosure so that the brush is contained within the enclosure.

In the toothpaste dispenser art, a tube of toothpaste contains a cap at one end and is normally constructed of a flexible material such as plastic which the user squeezes to remove the toothpaste after the cap has been removed. Upon removing an appropriate amount of toothpaste the user replaces the cap and uses the toothpaste on a brush. The user may or may not use dental floss to clean the space between the teeth of accumulated debris. Instead of using dental floss a small appropriately shaped Inter-Dental brush may be used to advantage. The present invention provides a physical operative connection between the toothpaste tube dispenser and the Inter-Dental brush. Prior to the present invention it was necessary to carry toothpaste together with a toothbrush and dental floss or Inter-Dental brush as desired.

The container is adapted to hold a relatively high viscosity fluid material or paste such as toothpaste or tooth cleaner and is preferably in the form of a tube. The brush, which may be more easily identified as a Prox-A-Brush or Inter-Dental brush is particularly adapted to clean between adjacent or contiguous human teeth. The brush has a wedge or triangular profile and has a generally conical shape adapted to be inserted to a different depth between teeth as desired. The brush thus can be used in place of dental floss.

The present invention is concerned with a new and novel combination for dental hygiene which may serve as a substitute for dental floss and provides convenient easy access and transport. The user has to carry only a single product which includes the toothpaste tube together with the Prox-A-Brush. The substantially transparent intermediate brush enclosure provides a visible and sanitary means of transporting the brush. In addition the enclosure provides an additional sanitary and visual means for confirming the tamperproof status of the enclosed brush as well as the toothpaste in the combined tube. The combination has a unique shape and design that permits it to be used with a standard toothpaste tube used in the art for example such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,976,224. In another embodiment a smaller tube of a size usually designated as a travel size may also be employed.

The combination further provides an aesthetically pleasing, sanitary, convenient and easily portable means for cleaning teeth and for cleaning between teeth without using dental floss. The substantially transparent enclosure can be sterilized to provide an antiseptic environment in which to store the brush prior to purchase.

The entire construction can be easily sealed during packaging to allow for fabrication under clean, antiseptic conditions. In addition this novel device permits subsequent transport, display and sale of the combination to the consumer without breaking the seal. The transparent aspect of the mounted enclosure permits tamperproof packaging which may be verified visually.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become more apparent by referring to the drawings as described below.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of one embodiment of the combination of the invention;

FIG. 2 is in exploded elevation view of the same embodiment shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows an exploded elevation view of the same combination embodiment as in FIGS. 1 and 2 when the combination is in use;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown one embodiment of the combination of the invention. A portion of a conventional toothpaste tube 10 having a shoulder and a threaded neck portion 8 is provided with a substantially transparent and preferably generally cylindrical enclosure 12. One end of the enclosure 12 is adapted to be mounted over the shoulder of the tube and preferably this end of the enclosure is fitted with a female thread 9 so that it can be threaded onto the male threaded neck portion 8 of the tube. In the other end of the enclosure 12 is removably mounted a preferably substantially cylindrical brush holder 14. On the brush holder 14 is mounted an Inter Dental or Prox-A-Brush brush 16. The brush holder 14 has two ends each of which is generally of a frusto-conical shape which may be separated by an intermediate annular ring 15. The smaller end of the cone is situated furthest from the center of the brush holder so that either end will fit into the opening of the enclosure in an interference fit. The intermediate annular ring 15, if employed, can prevent the brush holder from being inserted too deeply into the enclosure 12. In a different embodiment, not shown, the enclosure 12 has a compatible frusto-conical interior which allows either end of the brush holder to fit in a complementary fashion. The brush 16 is mounted, preferably substantially axially, on one end of the brush holder 14. The brush is of a generally conical shape so that it may be used in place of dental floss between the teeth and consequently, depending on the space between the teeth the brush can be inserted more deeply because of its generally conical shape. The enclosure 12 may be sized to fit the brush and thus may be longer or shorter as desired.

In FIG. 3 the combination is shown with the brush holder 14 inverted and inserted in the enclosure 12. As can be easily seen the length of the holder 14 can be sized differently so it may be complemented by the length of the enclosure 12 as desired.

In use the brush holder 14 can be used alone with the brush 16 or the combination of the enclosure 12 and the brush holder 14 may also be used. The tube 10 may be removed to facilitate ease-of-use of the brush or it may be left on. In order to use the toothpaste contained in the tube the enclosure is conveniently removed and the toothpaste squeezed out as desired. The toothpaste may also be used on the brush 16.

While the invention has been described in connection with the preferred embodiment, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular form set forth, but rather to the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.