Title:
Dual opening tubular dispenser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A single or dual compartment dispenser comprises a tubular body and capped openings on the opposite ends of the tube. The tubular body could be continuous, and hold a singular content, which can be extruded from either end, or it can be divided into separate compartments, e.g., connected at the middle of the tube by a crimp. The caps to each end can be of various types, e.g., twist type, hinge or flip type, or other common designs. The product dispensed from each opening may be the same or of alternate variety, and may include any personal or household products, e.g., products for facial, oral, skin, or hair care, lubricants, glues, sealants, paints, food, condiments and/or and other household or professional products. The products in a particular tube may be similar, but have different flavors, aroma or strength, such as products for adult or child, male or female, and whitening or sensitive teeth.



Inventors:
Farahmand, Bardia (Richmond, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/354502
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
02/15/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D35/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAINBRIDGE, ANDREW PHILIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jones Day (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A container, comprising: a tubular body having a wall surrounding a central cavity; a first end piece attached to a first end of the tubular body and having a first dispense orifice in communication with the central cavity for dispensing a first material from the central cavity; and a second end piece attached to an opposite end of the tubular body from the first end, said second end piece having a second dispense orifice in communication with the central cavity for dispensing a second material from the central cavity, wherein the first end of the tubular body comprises a first indicium for distinguishing the first end from the opposite end.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein the first material and the second material are the same.

3. The container of claim 1, wherein the first material is different than the second material.

4. The container of claim 1, wherein the central cavity further comprises a first compartment and a second compartment, said first compartment in communication with the first dispense orifice for dispensing the first material, and said second compartment in communication with the second dispense orifice for dispensing the second material.

5. The container of claim 4, wherein the first compartment and second compartment are separated by a seal.

6. The container of claim 5, wherein the seal comprises a crimp feature joining two or more portions of the wall of said body.

7. The container of claim 5, wherein the seal is oriented transversely to a long axis of the container.

8. The container of claim 7, further comprising at least one axial member configured to resist bending of the body in at least one direction about the seal.

9. The container of claim 8, wherein the axial member comprises at least one crimp feature in the body, said crimp feature oriented in a direction substantially perpendicular to the orientation of the seal.

10. The container of claim 8, wherein the axial member comprises an outer sleeve surrounding at least a portion of the tubular body in an area of the seal.

11. The container of claim 4, wherein the first material and the second material are selected from the group consisting of a liquid, a semi-liquid, a gel, a paste, a cream and a powder.

12. The container of claim 11, wherein the first material is different than the second material.

13. The container of claim 12, wherein the first material is selected from the group consisting of a dentifrice, a lotion, a cleanser, a cosmetic, a shampoo, a conditioner, an ointment, a medication, a lubricant, an adhesive and a sealant.

14. The container of claim 4, further comprising the first material and the second material.

15. The container of claim 4, wherein the first compartment further comprises a first chamber for holding a first portion of the first material and a second chamber for holding a second portion of the first material, and the first dispense orifice is a dual-dispense orifice in communication with the first chamber and the second chamber.

16. The container of claim 15, further comprising the first material, wherein compressing the first compartment extrudes the first portion and the second portion through the dual dispense orifice.

17. The container of claim 1, further comprising a first cap adapted to cover the first orifice and a second cap adapted to cover the second orifice.

18. The container of claim 17, wherein the first and second caps are removably attached to the first and second end pieces.

19. The container of claim 1, wherein the wall comprises polyethylene, polyvinyl, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride, aluminum, tin, lead, or any combination thereof.

20. The container of claim 1, wherein the indicium for distinguishing the first end from the second end comprises a color, a graphic, a text or any combination thereof.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to containers, and more particularly to tubular containers for storing and dispensing one or more materials.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

People usually do not share toothbrushes, but not many realize that sharing toothpaste can also spread germs. When a toothbrushes touch the tube, germs may transfer from the toothbrush to the toothpaste tube, such that when another person uses the toothpaste those germs may be transferred onto their toothbrush. In this way, bacteria can move from toothbrush to toothbrush, passing opportunistic infections such as periodontal disease and the common cold from one person to another. Sharing of containers of other personal products, e.g., soaps and body lotions, can carry similar risks.

To avoid the risk of cross-contamination between toothbrushes, many health professionals recommend having separate tubes of toothpaste for each individual in a household. However, following this recommendation to store and/or carry multiple containers is not always practical when space is a consideration, e.g., when bathroom storage space is limited or when traveling. In such situations, a single container having multiple openings for dispensing contents may be desirable.

In some cases, convenience and desirability may be enhanced by providing a single container that includes two different flavors or strengths of toothpaste or another a particular type of product, such as toothpaste flavored toothpastes for adults and for children, toothpastes for whitening and for sensitive teeth, lotions or soaps scented for females and for males, etc. It may also be commercially desirable to offer two or more related products together in one package to a consumer. For example, a manufacturer might wish to package together different types of personal and/or household products that are often used together but generally packaged in separate containers, for example shampoos and conditioners, soaps and lotions, sunscreen and after-sun lotion, different types of makeup or facial products, different types of glues or sealants, etc.

Several types of containers for dispensing two or more contents from a container are known. For example, dual dispense containers are often used for toothpastes, adhesives, and other products. Such containers generally have multiple chambers, or compartments, arranged for example, adjacent to each other or with one compartment disposed within the other (e.g., a tube within a tube). The compartments preferably connect to a dual-dispense orifice, which may include adjacent openings or a common opening through which the contents of the compartments may be dispensed. Such dual-dispense containers are used to package compositions that are intended to be kept separate in the package. The separate compositions are not brought into contact or mixed until after they are dispensed from the single dual-dispense orifice of the tube, whereupon the compositions react to achieve a desired result. Thus, a cleaning solution or dentifrice may include hydrogen peroxide that reacts with an active ingredient in the other compartment to achieve increased cleansing. As a further example, the components of an epoxy-resin adhesive must remain separate from each other until a time just prior to actual use.

Examples of such dual dispense containers are disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,939,610 to Castelli et al. as well as U.S. Pat. No. 1,699,532 to Hopkins. The Castelli patent, for example, discloses a collapsible dual dispense tube having a side-by-side dual-dispense orifice. The Hopkins patent discloses a collapsible dual-dispense tube having a sandwich shaped dual-dispense orifice. Other examples of a collapsible tube with a common or side-by-side dual-dispense orifice include U.S. Pat. No. 2,212,092 to Nitardy; U.S. Pat. No. 4,687,663 to Schaeffer; U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,539 to Mueller; U.S. Pat. No. 5,328,056 to Schneider et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,860,565 to Winston et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,129,243 to Pal et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,161,729 to Gentile et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,176,395 to Abbott et al.; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,726 to Jackson et al. Non-squeezable or non-collapsible packages that have separate reactive components that are combined at the point of use include, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,020,694 and 5,038,963 to Pettengill, which describe rigid piston-type multi-cavity dispensing containers for simultaneous co-extrusion of two or more flowable materials in predetermined proportions.

Another suggestion has been to utilize side-by-side collapsible tubes for toothpaste compositions. Representative of this technology is U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,757 to Kiozpeoplou; U.S. Pat. No. 4,687,663 to Schaeffer; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,539 to Mueller. Each of these disclosures describes a pair of tubes that have been crimped at an end distant from the product dispensing end.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,318,203 to Iaia et al. reports a dual-chamber dispenser which includes a cap having a dispensing base and a cover, and a pair of elongated hollow tubes. At an upper dispensing end of each of the tubes is an exit orifice and a coupling mechanism for attachment to an underside of the dispensing base. The upper dispensing end is D-shaped in cross-section. The lower end of the hollow tube is either round or oval in the cross-section. After being filled with respective product streams, the lower ends of the pair of hollow tubes are crimped together to form a seal. U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,033 to Beaver expands upon the laia et al. disclosure by tapering the openings of each compartment towards a common nozzle.

However, for reasons discussed above with respect to possible communication of germs and diseases, such dual-dispense containers are undesirable for toothpastes and other personal hygiene products that may be shared by two or more individuals. Another drawback of such containers is that they are not suitable for products that may be related, but that are generally applied separately, e.g., shampoos and conditioners, or soaps and lotions.

Other approaches have been disclosed for packaging of companion products, and generally include two containers of the same or different shape, which are joined together, e.g., in a “lock and key” or other type of interlocking configuration, as described for example in U.S. Pat. No. 6,857,530 to Yourist. Such configurations have several disadvantages. For example, manufacture of such containers generally requires one or more complex molds or otherwise forming of particular features to allow the containers to interlock. Such containers are undesirable because they are relatively expensive to manufacture. Also, the complexity of such packaging requires the containers to be substantially rigid, and therefore may not be suitable or convenient for all products. Moreover, like the dual-dispense containers described above, such interlocking containers generally have product exits or openings which are adjacent to each other, and therefore do not address the problems of cross-contamination when sharing a single dispenser.

Thus, there remains a need in the art for a simple and convenient tubular container for storing and dispensing one or more personal or household products.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A single or dual compartment dispenser comprises a tubular body and capped openings, or dispense orifices, on the opposite ends of the tube. The tubular body may be continuous and hold a singular content that can be expelled from either end, or it can be divided into separate compartments, e.g., connected at the middle of the tube by a crimp or other seal or barrier. Caps covering each end can be of various types, e.g., twist type, hinge or flip type, or other known designs.

The product dispensed from each opening may be the same or of different varieties, and may include any personal or household product, e.g., products for facial, oral, skin, or hair care, lubricants, glues, sealants, paints, food, condiments and/or and other household or professional product. In instances where the products in a particular tube are different, they may in fact be similar, but have different flavors, aroma or strength, such as products for adult or child, male or female, and whitening or sensitive teeth. The openings may be marked by different indicia, e.g., colors (e.g., blue and pink), icons (e.g., adult and child) or descriptive text, for example such that two persons can share a single tube but still have individual dispensers. In other embodiments, different products which are commonly used together may be included in the same container, for example baby toothpaste and baby cream can be packaged as one unit, or hand cream for women and whitening toothpaste can be packaged as one unit. Other exemplary combinations include shampoos and conditioners, shampoos and lotions, as well as adult and children sunscreen lotion. The different combinations afforded by the present invention are limitless.

In one aspect a dispenser comprises a tubular body and two separate openings, and is configured to store and dispense one or more compositions (materials). The two openings of the container are preferably on opposite ends of the tubular body, and each opening preferably includes or is configured to mate with a cap. In some embodiments, the tubular body forms a single compartment for holding a material to be dispensed through the two separate openings on opposite ends of the body. In other embodiments, the tubular body comprises a first compartment for dispensing a first material through a first orifice, and a second compartment for dispensing a second material through a second orifice, where the first and second orifices are on opposing ends of the tubular body. In one embodiment, the tubular body is divided into two compartments by a transverse crimp or other seal in an approximately middle portion of the tube. Optionally, additional features such as one or more longitudinal crimps and/or an outer sleeve may be included to resist bending of the body. The tube is preferably squeezable, yet fairly resistant to bending pressure.

In another aspect, a one or two compartment tubular package comprises a cylindrical-type tube, made out of flexible or squeezable material, which stores and protects a flowable content inside. The tube can be optionally divided into two compartments, and each compartment can hold the same or different materials. In some embodiments, each compartment can hold different materials, such as different toothpaste flavors, or types of toothpaste, or even different materials, such as hand cream in a first compartment, and toothpaste in a second compartment. Any dispensable material, for example liquids, semi-liquids, lotions, creams, pastes or gels that can be expelled from the tube, e.g., by squeezing the tube, can be stored in each compartment, or in the singular compartment.

In preferred embodiments, the tubular containers are preferably fabricated from a suitable material that permits the container to be at least temporarily squeezed or compressed. For example, the container may have the form of a tube as illustrated and may be readily extruded from any appropriate synthetic plastic material, such as for example polyethylene, polyvinyl, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate and polyvinyl chloride. In other embodiments the container may be fabricated from one or more layers of synthetic plastic and/or other materials, such as for example, thin metals including aluminum, tin, lead, or the like. The container could also be a blow-molded container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention can be better understood by reference to the following drawings, wherein like references numerals represent like elements. The drawings are merely exemplary to illustrate certain features that may be used singularly or in combination with other features and the invention should not be limited to the embodiments shown.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an illustrative embodiment of a tubular dispenser having dual openings according the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the tubular dispenser of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partial cross sectional top view of the tubular dispenser of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top view of another illustrative embodiment of a tubular dispenser having dual openings according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an end view of the tubular dispenser of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a partial cutaway top view of the tubular dispenser of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another illustrative embodiment of a tubular dispenser having dual openings according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a top view of the tubular dispenser of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another illustrative embodiment of a tubular dispenser having dual openings according the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a top view of the tubular dispenser of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view of an embodiment of the tubular dispenser of FIG. 9; and

FIG. 12 is a top view of another illustrative embodiment of a tubular dispenser having dual openings according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION AND FIGURES

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, an exemplary dispenser 10 comprises a tubular body 12, to each end of which is integrally united an end piece 40-1 and 40-1 (generally referred to herein as end piece 40) through which contents of the body may be dispensed. Each end piece 40 may include a collar 46 and a cap section 42, where the collar is preferably tapered from the outer wall of the tubular body (e.g., wall 310 of FIG. 3) preferably attaches the cap to the tubular body. The cap may be integral with the collar 46, or may be permanently or removably attached to a neck (not shown) of the end piece 40.

Dispenser 10, also referred to herein as tubular container 10, may include a divider or seal 50, which divides the container 10 into two compartments, e.g., a first compartment 20 and a second compartment 22. The seal 50 may be a crimp feature transversely arranged with respect to the longitudinal axis of the tube in a central portion 14 of the tubular body 14. For example, crimp feature 50 may be formed by sealing or bonding opposing walls of the body, e.g., by adhesive, thermal bonding, pressure, or any combination thereof. Thus, the crimp feature 50 separates the body into the two compartments 20 and 22, preferably such that the contents 220 of each compartment 20 and 22 are separated from each other.

When compartments 20 and 22 are filled with material, a portion 21, 23 of each compartment approximately adjacent to the crimp feature may be tapered or radiused as shown in FIG. 1. In preferred embodiments, adjacent ends 21 and 23 of each compartment have little or no curvature and are approximately linearly tapered from the collar 26 or a central portion of the compartment to the crimp feature 50. As will be discussed in more detail below with respect to FIG. 7, additional crimps, sleeves or other features may be longitudinally arranged on body to help resist or prevent bending about seal or crimp 50.

As shown in FIG. 2, the crimp feature 50 may be located in approximately the middle portion 14 of the tubular body 12, such that compartments 20 and 22 are of approximately the same size and volume. In other embodiments, one or more crimp features 50 or other seals may be located off-center, e.g., more toward end 40-1 or 40-2, such that the contents of compartments 20 and 22 are different from each other. For example, such an arrangement may be desirable when one compartment includes a material that is expected to be used more frequently or in greater dispensing quantities than the other compartment. As another example, a first compartment 20 may be larger and include a primary product and the second compartment 30 may be substantially smaller and contain a secondary product, such as for example a free sample, a concentrate, an activating agent, etc.

The cap 42 may be attached to or integrated with the collar 46 or other portion of end piece 40 or body 12, and may include a lid 44 as shown in FIG. 2. Lid may be hingeably attached, e.g., by a hinge feature 210, to cap 42. In such embodiments, lid 44 preferably may be selectively opened and closed over an opening 200 through which contents 220 of the container 10 may be dispensed, for example by opening the lid and squeezing the body 12 to force a portion of the contents 220 out of the body 12. Lid 44 preferably includes a snap feature or other mechanism to help keep the lid secured over the opening 200 when not in use. In other embodiments, other cap or lid features may be used, e.g., e.g., flip caps, hinged caps, screw caps, or any combination thereof. Openings 200 and/or caps 42 on one end 40-1 may be of the same or different type and/or size than on the other end 40-2. In preferred embodiments, cap 42, collar 46, or another portion of end piece 40-1, or a corresponding portion body 12, includes some marking, coloring or other indicia to distinguish end 40-1 from end 40-2. Such indicia may be desirable, for example, to identify the contents of each compartment 20, 22 and/or to identify the end 40-1 or 40-2 of the container 10 that belongs to, or is to be used, by a particular person.

End piece 40 may be of any desired configuration and may be united to the tube body 12 in any desirable manner. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, collar 46 of end piece 40 may be tapered from the body 12 to cap 42, and connect to or integrate with body 12 at an adjoining edge 246. In some embodiments, end piece 40 is composed of a thermoplastic material and is formed by molding. End piece 40 is then fused to tube 10 in any acceptable manner known in the art. Alternatively, other materials, forming, and/or attachment methods may be employed.

As shown in FIG. 3, body 12 may comprise a wall 310 approximately cylindrically arranged around a central cavity 330, within which contents 210 are held. Contents 210 may be any liquid, gel, paste, powder, or other material capable of being dispensed from tube and through opening 200. As described above, body 12, and therefore central cavity 330, may be divided into the two compartments 20, 22 by crimp seal 50 or another sealing feature. Contents 210 in each compartment 20, 22 may be the same or different from each other. Alternatively, central cavity 330 is not divided and is continuous from end 40-1 to end 40-2.

In some embodiments, the inner periphery of neck 320 of end piece 40 surrounding opening 200 is molded into or otherwise fitted to provide a collet 324. As used herein, the term “collet” is defined as a band, ferrule, flange or the like which is molded, stamped or otherwise provided around the inner diameter of the neck 320 at or near the terminus thereof. The dimensions of the collet diameter should therefore be smaller than the inside diameter of the neck 320, and such collet 324 essentially defines the dispensing opening 200 or orifice located at or near the terminus of the neck 320. Neck 320 may be integral with cap 42 as shown in FIG. 3, or a cap 42 may be a separate structure and attached over the neck as shown for example in FIG. 4.

The tubular container 10 may be fabricated from any suitable material and construction that permits the container to be at least temporarily squeezed or compressed to expel contents from one or both orifices 200. For example, the container may have the form of a tube as illustrated and may be readily extruded from any appropriate synthetic plastic material, such as for example polyethylene, polyvinyl, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate and polyvinyl chloride. In other embodiments the container 10 may be fabricated from one or more layers of synthetic plastic and/or other materials, such as for example, thin metals including aluminum, tin, lead, or the like. The container could also be a blow-molded container.

Tubular container 10 may have any desired dimensions, for example depending upon a particular desired application or use. For example, in one embodiments, container 10 is configured as a toothpaste container having an overall length of between about 4 inches and about 10 inches and a diameter of between about 0.5 inches and about 3 inches. Compartment 20 may have the same or different dimensions as compartment 22. And either or both compartments 20, 22 may comprise one or more chambers, such as, for example a dual dispense container for dispensing a dual-action toothpaste composition.

The present invention contemplates the use of different types of squeezable tubes that are commercially available and which are suitable for dispensing products for consumer and professional use. Examples of different types construction for tubular containers include, for example: (1) tubes fabricated from a mono-layer of a plastic sheet material, preferably a thermoplastic material, e.g., polyethylene or polyvinyl; (2) tubes fabricated from a sheet or foil of metal, e.g., aluminum; or (3) tubes fabricated from one or more sheets of any of the above materials which are laminated into a single sheet. Such squeezable tubes may be adapted according to the present invention to include two or more dispensing orifices, e.g., on opposite ends of the tube, such that the single container may contain one or more products and/or safely be used by different individuals.

Referring in particular to FIG. 3, wall 310 of body 12 may be of single layer or of laminated construction comprising several distinct layers bonded together. Generally, tube 10 may formed from a flat web or blank which has been fabricated in a preliminary operation, an example of which is one wherein one or more thermoplastic films are extruded directly onto and bonded to opposite sides of an endless intermediate substrate. By way of illustration and not limitation, tube body 12 can be made up of an inner thermoplastic layer, an outer thermoplastic layer and an intermediate barrier layer of metallic foil, e.g., aluminum, all coextensively bonded together. Additional layers may be used, including intermediate layers of paper and/or special bonding thermoplastic adhesives formulated to provide good adherence of the thermoplastic layers to the foil layer. The layers may also incorporate an oxygen barrier of which EVOH is an example. In this case, additional layers of adhesive may prove desirable to avoid the delamination of the walls. Additionally, one or more of the layers may include a regrind or even a post-consumer recycled plastic. Wall 310 may comprise any desired number of layers and have any desired thickness.

In some embodiments, tubes 10 may be formed by a tube manufacturer and shipped to a packer without the transverse divider or seal, such that the tube 10 may resemble the single-compartment tube 900 of FIG. 9. Optionally, the manufacturer or packer may add a crimp seal or another divider before or after filling the tube, or the tube 10 may be left undivided as shown for example in FIG. 9.

The contents 210 to be dispensed from each end 40 of container 10 may be the same or of alternate variety, and may include any personal, household or professional products, e.g., products for facial, oral, skin or hair care, lubricants, glues, sealants, paints, food, condiments and/or and other products. The products in a particular tube may be similar, but have different flavors, aroma or strength, such as products for adult or child, male or female, and whitening or sensitive teeth. The openings may be marked by different indicia, for example different colors (e.g., blue and pink), icons (e.g., adult and child) or descriptive text, for example such that two persons can share a single tube but still have individual dispensers. In other embodiments, different product which are commonly used together may be included in the same container, for example baby toothpaste and baby cream can be packaged as one unit, or hand cream for women and whitening toothpaste can be packaged as one unit, shampoos and conditioners, or shampoos and lotions could be combined, as well as adult and children sunscreen lotion.

Referring now to FIGS. 4-6, a container 400 is similar to container 10, e.g., including body 12, ends 40-1 and 40-2, compartments 20 and 22, and crimp feature 50. However, instead of the integral cap 42 of container 10, container 400 includes a removable cap 420 to seal each end 40-1, 40-2 of container 400. Cap 420 may have threads or other features (not shown) that engage with corresponding threads 412 or other features on a neck 410 portion of the end piece 40. Rotation of cap 420 in one direction engages the threads 412 and secures cap 420 to end, while rotation in an opposite direction loosens or removes the cap. Removing the cap exposes an opening or orifice in end piece 40, through which the contents 610 or 620 of the compartments 20, 22 may be dispensed. Alternatively, cap 420 may also include a lid or snap feature such as that shown in FIG. 2.

In some embodiments, ends 40-1 and 40-2 may have different caps or cover features. For example, one end may have a flip cap and the other a screw cap. One or more of the caps may include color or other coding, labels, different sizes or geometries, locking features, etc. For example, in a particular embodiment, one end comprises a flip top or other easily accessible lid, while the other end includes a child-resistant cover. Such configuration may be desirable, for example, for containers that include separate products for children and adults, e.g., a whitening or medicated toothpaste and child's toothpaste.

As shown in the end-view illustration of FIG. 5, cap 420 may include longitudinal ribs, ridges or other features to facilitate gripping of the cap by a hand. Body 12 may have a cross-sectional shape that is approximately oval as shown. Alternatively, body 12 may have a cross-sectional shape that is approximately circular, rectangular, or any other desired shape, and such shape may be uniform or variable throughout the length of body 12.

Turning now to FIGS. 7 and 8, in a preferred embodiment a tubular container 700 comprises one or more additional axial strengthening members 710 and 720 and/or other features to provide axial rigidity to the container 700. For example, strengthening members 710 and 720 may be crimp features which are oriented an oblique angle or substantially perpendicular to the transverse seal 50, such that the axial members provide resistance against bending about the transverse seal 50 a unless a deliberate bending force is applied to tube 700. Such features may help allow a dual-compartment product to be picked up and carried without the body 12 bending, twisting or otherwise altering its form. Aside from the axial members or other means for providing axial rigidity, container 700 may have some or all of the other features of container 10, including dual ends 40-1 and 40-2, caps 42 for each end, and one or more compartments 20 and 22 for holding material to be dispensed out of each end 40-1 and 40-2. While container 700 may have increased axial rigidity due to axial members 710 and 720, the body 12 of container is still preferably collapsible to allow expulsion of a desired portion of the contents of one or both compartments 20, 22 through the corresponding openings 40-1 and 40-2, respectively.

In other embodiments, container 700 may include an outer sleeve or sheath surrounding body 12 instead of or in addition to axial members 710 and 720, for example such that container 700 may resemble in outer appearance container 900 of FIG. 9. Such an outer sleeve or sheath may completely or partially surround body 12, and may extend completely or partially towards ends 40-1 and/or 40-2.

In alternative embodiment, the two compartments 20, 22 of the body 12 are separately formed as conventional containers, e.g., toothpaste containers, and then combined into a single dual-dispenser product using an outer sleeve or other attachment means. Such an arrangement might be desirable, for example, for promotions where a smaller container (e.g., a trial-size) is packaged together with a primary product. Both products may be manufactured using whatever processes and equipment the manufacturer already has in place for each product, then packaged together with an outer tube, sheath or sleeve to make a final dual-dispenser product resembling that shown in FIG. 9. Other means of attaching the ends of two containers may also be used instead of or in addition to an outer sleeve, for example an adhesive or crimp seal (e.g., such that the final product resembles that shown in FIG. 1), or a clipping member with features for receiving and retaining the two separate containers (e.g., a clipping member dimensioned in an “H” fashion resembling the crimping features of FIG. 7).

Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10, a tubular container 900 may have a body comprising a single compartment 20 that is not divided into two separate containers by a crimp feature, seal, or other divider. All other features and aspects of container 900 may be the same or similar to those described above with respect to FIGS. 1-3, including the various components, contents, fabrication materials and methods, etc. In some embodiments, container 900 may be filled with a single material 200, e.g., any liquid, gel, paste, etc. that may be dispensed through either end 40-1 or 40-2. Such a container may, for example, allow individuals in a household to share a single container of toothpaste, soap or other product, wherein each person accesses the material from a separate end 40-1 and 40-2. As discussed above, caps 42 or other features of ends 40-1 and 40-2 may be color coded or otherwise labeled to denote contents or a particular user.

As shown in FIG. 11, in another embodiment, compartment 20 of container 900 may include one or more separate interior compartments 1120, 1130. Each interior compartment 1120, 1122 may be defined by a layer of material, or barrier 1130, 1132, respectively, each of which may be formed from a plastic bag or sheet. Alternatively, other materials may be used. The interior barrier 1130, 1132 preferably surrounds each respective compartment and is open at opening 200 of each end 40. The barriers 1130 and 1132 forming each compartment may abut each other, e.g., in approximately the midpoint 14 of the container, for example forming an end wall 1150 comprising the two layers 1130, 1132.

Compartments 1120 and 1130 may be of the same or different size, and may be formed of the same or different materials, e.g., plastics, rubbers, metal foils, etc. In some embodiments, compartments 1120 and 1130 may be formed by inserting empty bags, or barriers 1130, 1132 into each end 40-1, 40-2 of the container and filling the bags. Barriers 1130, 1132 may be adhered to each other and/or to the interior surface of wall 310 of body 12. In other embodiments, barriers 1120 and 1130 may be arranged in any fashion, as long a compartment defined by each barrier communicates with an opening 200 of the container 900. For example, barriers 1120 and 1130 may be arranged adjacent to each other.

In some embodiments, only one barrier may be used to form compartments 1120 and 1122 (not shown). For example, one compartment, e.g. compartment 1120, may be defined by an interior barrier 1130 and the other compartment is defined by the remaining space defined by wall 310 of body 12 and the barrier 1130, for example such that one product is container within the barrier sack and another product is outside of and optionally surrounding the barrier sack 1130. In other embodiments, end wall 1150 may be formed by any barrier that divides compartment 20 of body 12 into two interior compartments. Such barrier is preferably at least semi-flexible to allow squeezing of tube 900, and may be molded, sealed adhered or otherwise attached to outer wall 300 of body 12. Alternatively, a divider wall may be integrally formed as a unitary part of the container.

In other embodiments, either or both of compartments 1120 and 1130 may be configured as a dual-dispense toothpaste container, for example comprising one or more chambers which are arranged coaxially or adjacent to each other and in communication with a dual-dispense orifice. Such configuration may be desirable, for example, in embodiments where at least one of compartments 1120 and 1130 contains two-part toothpaste composition, e.g., comprising a paste portion in one chamber and gel portion in the other chamber such that the paste and gel are dispensed through a dual dispense orifice, as is known in the art.

Referring to FIG. 12, another container 1200 comprises two tubular dispensers 1210 and 1220 which are arranged in an approximately parallel fashion and molded, formed, adhered or otherwise attached together at a longitudinal edge joint 1250. Each tubular dispenser may have a tubular body 12 an end 40-1 and 40-2 with some or all of the characteristics elsewhere described herein, and may be adapted to hold and/or dispense any of the products described herein. Ends 40-1 and 40-2 are preferably oriented in opposite directions and on opposite ends of container 1200. Opposite each end 40-1 and 40-2, each tubular dispenser 1210, 1220 preferably has a seal 1212, 1222, respectively. Seals 1212 and 1222 may be a crimp feature, thermoformed seal, or any other suitable seal known in the art, and may be the same or different from each other.

In one embodiment, container 1200 may resemble two adjacent toothpaste containers axially attached and arranged in opposite directions. Container may be formed using any materials and methods known in the art. In one embodiment, each tubular dispenser 1210, 1220 may be separately formed and then attached at edge joint 1250. In another embodiment, bodies 12 of container 1200 may be formed from a single tubular structure, and the individual dispensers 1210, 1220 may be defined by heat sealing, crimping, etc. along a central axis of the tubular structure to create edge joint 1250. In use, a desired amount of material from either dispenser 1210, 1220 may be dispensed, for example, by opening the respective cap 42 and squeezing a portion of the body 12. In another embodiment, ends 40-1 and 40-2 are oriented in the same direction such that they are approximately adjacent to each other and products are dispensed from the same end of the container 1200.

EXAMPLES

The containers of the present invention may be used to hold and dispense any desired type or types of liquids, semi-liquids, gels, creams, pastes, lotions, powders, or any other materials that may be dispensed from a squeezable tube. A container may have a single compartment, or inner area, for holding a material and dispensing the material through either of the orifices, which are preferably located on opposing ends of the container and marked with indicia to distinguish the two ends. In other embodiments, the container includes two or more compartments, where each compartment is for holding and dispensing a material which may be the same or different in each compartment. For example, each compartment or end of a tubular container according to the present invention can hold toothpastes of different strengths, flavors, or types, such as formulations for children and adults, and/or any combination of particular formulations such as whitening, tartar control, medicated, sensitive teeth, dual-action, and/or other formulations. The openings may be marked by different indicia such as colors (e.g., blue and pink), icons (e.g., adult and child) or descriptive text, for example such that two persons can share a single tube but still have individual dispensers.

General Toothpaste Compositions

In embodiments where one or both compartments of a dual-opening container are configured to hold and/or dispense an extrudable toothpaste, any toothpaste formulation or other dentifrice may be used. Toothpaste compositions contain a variety of ingredients, the major types of ingredients generally being abrasive particulates, a thickening agent, a liquid vehicle and surfactant. Other ingredients include fluoride and/or other active ingredients, flavoring agents and various other constituents for cosmetic, therapeutic and/or aesthetic effects. Thus, while the particular formulations of most available brands of toothpaste are proprietary, they generally include some or all of the following basic ingredients:

    • Abrasives: A desired amount of one or more abrasives may aid in the removal of plaque, stains and other deposits from the teeth and help to polish them. Abrasives suitable for use in toothpaste compositions are generally finely divided, water-insoluble powdered materials such as silica, dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, calcium carbonate or calcined alumina.
    • Detergents: One or more detergents may be included, e.g., to help create a foaming action during brushing. A common detergent is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
    • Humectants: One or more humectants may be included to give a toothpaste its texture and/or to help retain moisture. Suitable humectants include, for example, glycerin, sorbitol, and water are common humectants.
    • Thickeners or binding agents: In order to hold the solid and liquid ingredients in the form of a stable paste with desirable rheological properties, toothpastes includes a thickener or binder. A large number of different thickeners are known to the art and include, carboxymethylcellulose, xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan and mixtures thereof as thickener systems for toothpaste.
    • Fluoride: Fluoride is a common active ingredient which is incorporated into tooth enamel making teeth more resistant to acids found in food and produced by plaque bacteria. Different forms of fluoride may be used in toothpaste, for example sodium monofluorophosphate, stannous fluoride, or sodium fluoride. Prescription toothpastes (e.g., for dry mouth, Sjogren's syndrome, cancer, etc.) may include a higher percentage of sodium fluoride than over the counter toothpastes.
    • Antibacterial Agents: One or more antibacterial agents may be included in a toothpaste composition, for example, N1-(4-chlorobenzyl)-N5-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl) biguanide; p-chlorophenyl biguanide; 4-chlorobenzyhydryl biguanide; 4-chlorobenzhydrylguanylurea; N-3-lauroxpropyl-N5-p-chlorobenzylbiguanide; 1-(lauryldimethylammonium)-8-(p-chlorobenzyldimethylammonium) octane dichloride; 5,6-dichloro-2-guanidinobenzimidazole; N1-p-chlorophenyl-N5-laurylbiguanide; 5-amino-1,3-bis (2-ethylhexyl)-5-methylhexahydropyrimidine cetyl pyridinium chloride, and their non-toxic acid addition salts, particularly the fluorides and the dihydrogen fluorides. In some toothpastes, 1,6-di-(p-chlorophenylbiguanidohexane) is particularly preferred. These agents may be used, for example, in amounts ranging from about 0.01 to 5 percent by weight of the dentifrice.
    • Other Active Ingredients: Instead of or in addition to fluoride and/or one or more antibacterial agents, one or more other active ingredients may be included, for example desensitizing agents, anti-tartar agents, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), enzymes (e.g., to enhance the antibacterial properties of saliva), and Xylitol (which may reduce levels of cariogenic bacteria and enhance remineralization).
    • Preservatives: One or more preservatives may inhibit or prevent growth of microorganisms in toothpaste. Suitable preservatives include, for example, sodium benzoate, methyl paraben, and ethyl paraben.
    • Flavoring and/or Sweetening Agents: One or more natural or artificial flavoring agents may be added to provide any desired taste to a toothpaste, e.g., peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, wintergreen and menthol. One or more sweeteners may also be used to improve the taste of a toothpaste, including, for example saccharin or any other sweetener.
    • Coloring Agents: One or more coloring agents may be used to provide a desired color to a toothpaste. For example, titanium dioxide may be to make a toothpaste white. Various other coloring agents may be used to provide any desired color.
      Exemplary Paste Composition

In one embodiment, an essentially smooth, lump-free dentifrice paste is contained in one or both compartments of a container according to the present invention. Such a dentifrice paste may be formulated, for example, in accordance with U.S. Pat. No. 6,149,894, by first introducing a liquid vehicle comprised of a humectant such as glycerol, liquefied sorbitol (generally a 70% aqueous solution) or other liquid polyols, followed in sequence by the addition of the calcium carbonate abrasive slurry, a thickener such as carboxymethylcellulose and then water to a mixing tank and thereafter subjecting the ingredients to a continuous vacuum and intimate mixing between each sequence to prepare a homogeneous paste mixture.

The liquid vehicle of such dentifrice paste products is generally a humectant/water mixture, and will generally be present in the final paste product in the range of from about 10 to 85% by weight, with from 30-70% being a preferred range for toothpastes. Humectants used in dentifrice formulations are well known in the art and include glycerin, sorbitol, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, mannitol, polypropylene glycols, and mixtures thereof.

Stable aqueous calcium carbonate slurries used in the method of the present invention generally contain about 50 to about 80% by weight calcium carbonate. Such slurry materials are available commercially and are widely used in the paper making industry; calcium carbonate being a pigment which is excellent in whiteness and has affinity for ink, gloss and printability.

Inorganic dispersants which may be used to stabilize the calcium carbonate slurry include such condensed phosphates as pyrophosphates, tripolyphosphates, trimetaphosphates, tetrametaphosphates, and hexametaphosphates, zinc salts and silicates. Organic dispersants, include polycarboxylates such as polyacrylates, polymethacrylates, and polymaleates and polyvinyl alcohol. Such dispersants are known to the art, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,818,783 discloses dispersing calcium carbonate in an aqueous medium containing as the dispersant (1) 0.1 to 2 parts by weight of (a) a carboxyl group-containing water-soluble polymer possessing a number average molecular weight in the range of 2,000 to 80,000 and (b) a water soluble condensed phosphate and (2) 0.03 to 1 part by weight of a water soluble anionic modified polyvinyl alcohol respectively based on 100 parts by weight of the calcium carbonate.

The content of calcium carbonate abrasive in the final paste product may range from about 20 to about 75% and preferably about 30 to about 60% by weight. Other ranges of calcium carbonate, or another abrasive agent, may be used.

Thickeners that can be used include, for example, the natural and synthetic gums and gum-like materials, desirably carboxyl methyl cellulose sodium carboxymethylcellulose, hydroxyethylcarboxymethylcellulose, carrageenin, gum tragacanth, xanthan gum, guar gum, alginates, bentonite and other natural clays and synthetic inorganic clays. The gums are hydratable or gelled with water or alkanols, especially with polyhydric alcohols such as glycerol and sorbitol.

The proportions of thickeners present in an exemplary toothpaste product will generally be in the range of from 0.1-to about 5% by weight of the final product and in the case of synthetic gums such as sodium carboxymethylcellulose, the range will preferably be from about 0.1 to 3%. Other ranges may be used.

Inorganic thickening agents suitable for use in the present invention include colloidal silicas having bodying properties, such as the aerogels Syloid 244 and 266 (available from W. R. Grace Company), Aerosil (available from DeGussa Co.) and pyrogenic silicas sold under the tradename Cab-O-Sils (available from Cabot Corporation). Tixosil 333 and Tixosil 43B (available from Rhodia Ltda.), Zeodent 165 (available from J. M. Huber Corporation).

In the manufacture of a toothpaste, mixing of the ingredients may be accomplished in mixing vessels conventionally used and equipped for the manufacture of toothpaste. The ingredients may be charged to mixer at an elevated temperatures for example 45 to 70° C., but is preferably performed at room temperature to save heating and cooling times.

Once the homogeneous paste containing the aqueous humectant, abrasive and thickener is prepared, which can generally be referred to as a base paste, various other classes of ingredients may be added to finalize the toothpaste product, which additional ingredients generally include surfactants, silica aerogels or other colloidal silicas, therapeutic agents, preservatives and flavoring agents or other ingredients that will finalize the desired toothpaste product.

Examples of surfactants useful in toothpastes prepared in accordance with an exemplary method include anionic surfactants such as sodium alkylsulfates (sodium laurylsulfate, sodium myristylsulfate), sodium N-acylsarcosinates (sodium N-lauroylsarcosinate, sodium N-myristoylsarcosinate, N-acylglutamic acid salts (sodium N-palmitoylglutamate, etc.), and sulfosuccinic acid surfactants (polyoxyethylene alkyl disodium sulfosuccinate, dialkyl sodium sulfosuccinate).

Examples of nonionic surfactants usable in exemplary toothpastes include sugar fatty acid esters (sucrose fatty acid ester, maltose fatty acid ester, lactose fatty acid ester, etc.), polyoxyethylene alkyl ethers, polyoxyethylene sorbitan fatty acid esters (polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono laurate, polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate, etc.), polyoxyethylene fatty acid esters (polyoxyethylene-hardened castor oil, etc.), sorbitan fatty acid esters, fatty acid monoglycerides and polyoxyethylene/polyoxypropylene block copolymers.

Examples of amphoteric surfactants include N-alkyldiaminoethylglycine (N-lauryldiaminoethylglycine, N-myristyldiethylglycine, etc.), N-alkyl-N-carboxymethylammonium betaine, 2-alkyl-1-hydroxyethylimidazoline betaine sodium and lauryldimethylaminoacetic acid betaine.

Either one of the above described surfactants or a mixture of two or more thereof may be used to prepare a toothpaste composition at a concentration ranging from 0.1 to 10% by weight based on the whole composition.

The toothpaste compositions prepared in accordance with the above-described method may also contain flavors such as menthol, arvensis mint oil, synthetic mint flavors, carvone, eugenol, methyleugenol, methyl salicylate, methyl eugenol, thymol, anethole, limonene, ocimene, n-decyl alcohol, citronellol, alpha-terpineol, linalol, ethyllinalol, vanillin, thyme, nutmeg, spearmint oil, peppermint oil, lemon oil, orange oil, sage oil, rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, winter green oil, clove oil and eucalyptus oil. Any one of these flavors or a mixture of two or more thereof may be used. The content thereof ranges from 0.1 to 5% by weight, preferably from 0.5 to 2% by weight, based on the whole composition.

Suitable toothpaste compositions may also contain sweeteners such as saccharin sodium, acesulfame potassium, glycyrrhizin, perillartine, thaumatin, aspartylphenylalanyl methyl ester and xylitol. The content of the sweeteners ranges from 0.01 to 1% by weight, preferably from 0.05 to 0.5% by weight, based on the whole composition.

Suitable toothpaste compositions may furthermore contain therapeutic ingredients such as water-insoluble noncationic antibacterial agents such as triclosan, Vitamin E analogs (dl-α-tocopherol acetate, tocopherol succinate, tocopherol nicotinate, etc.), Vitamin A (retinol, alpha carotene, beta carotene), Vitamin B (B1-thyamin, B2-riboflavine, B3-niacine, B5-pantothenic acid, B6-pirydoxine, B7-biotine, B8/B9/Bc-folic acid, B12-cianocobalamine), Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate), cationic antibacterial agents (chlorhexidine hydrochloride, cetylpyridinium chloride), enzymes (dextranase, amylase, protease, mutanase, lysozyme), herbal extracts/oils (chamomile, myrrh, eugenol, tea tree oil, sage oil, mallow, eucalyptus, melissa, pomegranade, apricot, millefolium extract, tangerine extract), natural ingredients (algae, propolis), anticavity alkali metal agents and monofluorophosphates (sodium monofluorophosphate, potassium monofluorophosphate, etc.), fluorides (sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, etc.), whitening agents (aluminum oxide, calcium peroxide), debriding agent (sodium bicarbonate), astringent salts (such as zinc), chlorophyll, and preservatives such as methyl paraben, tooth desensitizing agents such as potassium and stronthium salts, condensed antitartar phosphates such as sodium and potassium tetrapyrophosphate, pigments (Blue 15-CI74160, Green 7-CI74260, Red 4-CI12085, Yellow 115 CI47005:1), dyes (Red 40 CI16035, Red 33 CI17200, Red 3 C145430, Carmine 5 CI75470, Blue 1 CI42090, Yellow 5 CI19140, Yellow 10 C147005) Mica and Speckles. Use can be made of either one of these ingredients or a mixture of two or more thereof in amounts ranging from 0.001 to abut 15% by weight of the toothpaste.

In a particular example, an extrudable toothpaste comprises the following compounds:

COMPONENT% Weight
Sorbitol20.00
Carboxymethylcellulose1.20
Irradiated water5.020
Calcium carbonate (65% by weight slurry)63.080
Sodium saccharin0.200
Methylparaben0.100
Ethyl alcohol1.500
Sodium silicate1.000
Sodium monofluorophosphate1.140
Sodium lauryl sulfate 29% solution5.600
Flavor1.160

The above-described toothpaste composition and method is just one example of an extrudable toothpaste. Numerous other extrudable dentifrice compositions are known, any of which may be suitable for use with a container according to the present invention.

Ingestible Toothpastes

In particular embodiments, one or both sides of a dual-compartment tubular container includes an ingestible toothpaste. For example, a one suitable formula for an ingestible toothpaste is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,952,867, and includes:

insoluble sodium metaphosphate1200 grams
dicatcium phosphate 200 grams
glycerin1160 grams
sodium carboxynathylcellulose 50 grams
saccharin  4 grams
water1390 grams
oil of spearmint 16 grams

Various other ingestible or non-ingestible toothpaste compositions may be used.

Exemplary Dual-Component Toothpaste Composition

In other particular embodiments, one or more of the opposing sides of a dual-ended tubular toothpaste container is configured as a dual-dispense container for dispensing a striped or dual-component reactive toothpaste. For example, as discussed above with respect to FIG. 11, one compartment of a container may further include two adjacent or coaxially arranged chambers, wherein one chamber holds a gel composition and the other holds a paste composition, and the gel and paste are combined when dispensed through a dual-dispense orifice. Exemplary dual-dispense containers and orifices are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,212,092 to Nitardy; U.S. Pat. No. 4,687,663 to Schaeffer; U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,539 to Mueller; U.S. Pat. No. 5,328,056 to Schneider et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,860,565 to Winston et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,161,729 to Gentile et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,176,395 to Abbott et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,726 to Jackson et al.; U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,020,694 and 5,038,963 to Pettengill; U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,757 to Kiozpeoplou; U.S. Pat. No. 4,687,663 to Schaeffer; U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,539 to Mueller; U.S. Pat. No. 5,318,203 to Iaia et al.; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,033 to Beaver, each of which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

In one embodiment, at least one end of a dual-ended tubular container according to the present invention comprises two separate chambers connected to a dual-dispenser. Each chamber includes one portion of a two-portion dentifrice. The inner surfaces of each chamber may be of lined or unlined aluminum, lined lead or plastic, and the tubes are readily collapsible, being easily compressed by hand pressing, to extrude the toothpaste portions. Upon extrusion one portion will preferably appear as a stripe or stripes on the other or as a core partially (or completely) enveloped by the other, and various other relationships of the two extruded portions are also possible. A suitable two-portion dentifrice is described, for example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,757, wherein the portions of the toothpaste present in the dispensing container are in a weight ratio of the first portion to the second portion of about 0.5:1 to 40:1, preferably about 0.7:1 to 20:1, more preferably about 0.8:1 to 5:1 and most preferably (usually) about 1:1. Numerous other two-portion toothpastes are known, any of which may be suitable for use in a container according to the present invention.

In an exemplary extrudable two-portion toothpaste, the first portion of the toothpaste, that which contains the sodium bicarbonate, is stable and non-effervescent. Sodium carbonate particles are relatively soft as compared to most conventional abrasive particles used in toothpastes; nevertheless, they do exert mechanical cleaning effect on the teeth. For instance, in a radioactive dentin abrasion (RDA) test a toothpaste containing about 50 percent of bicarbonate of soda, as the sole polishing agent (or abrasive), has an RDA value of about 100 whereas when the vehicle of that toothpaste is tested (without the bicarbonate) the RDA value is only about 50.

The first portion of an exemplary toothpaste preferably usually contains at least about 15%, and preferably about 15 to 50% of sodium bicarbonate. More preferably, such percentage range is from about 20 to 40%, e.g., 30%. The sizes of the sodium bicarbonate particles may vary from coarse to fine; it is preferred that they be largely below 0.4 mm. in diameter, with a major proportion by weight being above 0.01 mm. in diameter. The vehicle in which the sodium bicarbonate particles are dispersed is aqueous, but its amount and character are preferably such that a major proportion or substantially all of the sodium bicarbonate is undissolved in the toothpaste. However, it should be understood, that when the teeth are brushed with the present toothpaste the sodium bicarbonate particles will tend to dissolve in the saliva. Such dissolving is helped by the presence of water in the toothpaste, effervescence development is speeded, and the taste and other characteristics of the toothpaste are improved, compared to dentifrices containing nonaqueous vehicle(s) only.

In some toothpastes, it is preferred for the supplementing polishing agent to be calcium carbonate (chalk). The presence of the chalk or other suitable stabilizing polishing agent produces an improvement in the stability of the bicarbonate portion of the toothpaste on aging at elevated temperatures. The addition of the compatible water insoluble polishing agent, such as chalk, silica (which designation is intended to include sodium aluminosilicate and/or silica containing combined alumina), alumina, zirconium silicate and the like, or suitable mixtures thereof, is found to yield a stable sodium bicarbonate composition, which has improved cleaning power combined with resistance to flavor separation and which does not tend to form gas on storage. In contrast, when such common dental abrasives as dicalcium phosphate or insoluble sodium metaphosphate are added to the same sodium bicarbonate compositions objectionable quantities of gas are formed, even on short term storage, e.g., one day, if the temperature is elevated. The resistance to separation out of flavoring materials in the invented products is evidenced by a decrease in the tendency for essential oils, used as flavors, to separate from the toothpaste on aging at 43° to 49° C., which separation occurs most detrimentally when the particles of sodium bicarbonate are of relatively large size, e.g., over 150 microns in diameter.

In some toothpastes, average particle size of the chalk is preferably less than 20 microns, most preferably below 10 microns and above 1 micron. The silica may be of crystalline or amorphous type. In either case the particle size is preferably below 20 microns, e.g., 2 to 10 microns. Micronized crystalline silica or silica gel, such as the silica gels sold under the trade names Syloid 63, Syloid 74, and the like, are examples of useful silicas. The alumina may be of the hydrated or unhydrated type. For hydrated alumina the average particle size is preferably less than 20 microns, most preferably below 10 microns and above 1 or 2 microns. When zirconium silicate is employed its average particle size is preferably below 5 microns, e.g., below 3 microns and above 0.3 micron.

A particularly suitable alumina is in the form of flat flakes of alpha-alumina crystals, of disk- or plate-like configuration. Said flakes have a mean (by weight) particle diameter of less than about 7 microns, e.g., about 2 to 7 microns. The flat alpha-alumina crystals and a process for preparing them are described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,121,623. The dentifrice is preferably substantially free of anhydrous alumina particles having diameters of about 15 microns and thicknesses of about 2 microns. While it is most preferred to use alumina flakes, the mean particle diameter of which is less than five microns, e.g., about 3 to 4 microns, it is within the broader scope of this invention to use alumina flakes of larger diameters but similar thickness, such as alumina flakes that are described in the aforesaid U.S. Pat. No. 3,121,623 having average diameters of 9, 12, or 15 or more microns, free of particles over 40 microns in diameter (preferably free of particles over about 20 microns in diameter), and substantially free of particles having thicknesses above about 3 microns. In a preferred form of the invention the alpha-alumina flakes are uncoated and are nonadherent to particles of other materials. It is also within the broader scope of the invention to include other alpha-aluminas or other polishing agents of suitable hardness, sometimes about 6 on the Moh scale, in admixture with the alpha-alumina flakes. For instance, one may replace about one-half of the alumina flakes with a pulverized alpha-alumina of irregular shape and having a mean particle size of about 3 to 4 microns (with all said irregular particles being less than about 7 microns in their largest dimension). Thus, an exemplary toothpaste may contain, for example, 3% of the flakes and 2% of said irregular particles.

A typical alkali or alkaline earth metal aluminosilicate is a complex having a refractive index of about 1.45, a moisture content of about 5 to 20%, e.g., 10%, an alumina content of up to about 10%, e.g., 8%, a silica content of at least about 70%, a sodium oxide (or other alkali metal or alkaline earth metal oxide, e.g., calcium oxide) content of up to about 10%, e.g., 7%, and a particle size of below 40 microns, preferably about 1 to 20 microns.

Examples of mixtures of polishing agents are blends of chalk and hydrated alumina in equal amounts or about 25/75 or 75/25 proportions. Other amounts and/or other polishing agents may be used.

An suitable composition may also contain a small amount of titanium dioxide powder, which has been found to have a marked polishing effect on the teeth when used in the sodium bicarbonate composition. The particle size of the TiO2 is preferably about 0.1 to 1 micron. The weight of titanium dioxide particles in the composition is minor, from about 0.1% up to about 10% of the weight of the sodium bicarbonate, preferably about 0.1% to about 5% of the sodium bicarbonate, more preferably about 0.5 to about 1 or 2.0% thereof. The foregoing proportions of TiO2 (and other components) can be readily calculated from the proportions and ratios of the other ingredients of the product, the amount of water present, (5 to 35%), the water:glycerol ratio (3:1 to 6:1), the amount of sodium bicarbonate (25 to 60%), the amount of additional polishing agent (1 to 30%), etc. For instance, the amount of TiO2 present can be up to about 5 to 6%, preferably about 0.2 to 0.6% of the weight of the toothpaste. The total of polishing agent (excluding titanium dioxide) in the first portion will be about 1 to 30%, preferably 3 to 25% and more preferably 5 to 20%.

The vehicle of the first portion of the toothpaste includes a suitable liquid, preferably containing a thickening agent, e.g., a gelling agent. The vehicle is preferably aqueous but it is within the broader scope of the invention to employ non-aqueous vehicles. Generally the liquid will contain a humectant or other viscous water miscible material, such as glycerol, sorbitol, polyethylene glycol, maltitol, mannitol or any suitable mixture thereof. Water will usually constitute about 5 to 35%, e.g., about 10 to 30%, of the total vehicle of the first portion. Superior results (such as better taste) are obtained when the proportion of water is about 10 to 20% of the total of the portions of the toothpaste. Normally the sodium bicarbonate:water ratio is in the range of about 0.3:1 to 8:1 for the toothpaste, as dispensed, e.g., 0.5:1 to 3:1, but in the first toothpaste portion it may be from 0.6:1 to 10:1, often being in the range of 0.8:1 to 6:1, e.g., 3:1 to 6:1. When such or a larger proportion of water is present speedier effervescing of the toothpaste in the mouth will result.

Gelling agents for toothpaste vehicles are well known in the art. These are often high polymers, such as gums or other thickening agents, which are soluble or swellable in water or other aqueous medium. Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose has given excellent results. Other useful materials include gum tragacanth, gum arabic, gum karaya, sodium alginate, hydroxyethyl cellulose, methyl cellulose, ethyl cellulose, carrageenan and other polysaccharides, xanthan, polyvinyl pyrollidones, thickening agents such as “Veegum” (a complex magnesium aluminum silicate) and silica aerogels. The amount of thickening agent used in the practice of this invention is preferably sufficient to impart to the mixture the pasty consistency, body and non-tacky nature which is characteristic of conventional dental creams or toothpastes. As is well known, such toothpastes are extrudable from ordinary collapsible toothpaste tubes to form a ribbon of substantial thickness, e.g., about 0.5 to 1 cm., which, if left undisturbed, substantially retains its original thickness over a period of one minute and more and does not penetrate substantially into the bristles of a toothbrush when resting on the ends of such bristles for a similar period. Such ribbons of toothpastes preferably offer substantial resistance to brushing or to deformation when, for instance, they are touched lightly with a finger. Also, such ribbons have only little tack and do not tend to form a string when the finger is pulled away from the ribbon. These properties can be helpful in preventing any objectionable premature reaction between the extruded toothpaste portions before commencement of toothbrushing. The proportion of thickening agent is often within the range of about 0.5 to 2%, such as about 0.8 to 1.5%, of the first portion of the toothpaste of this invention.

An organic surface active agent is very preferably used in the composition to aid in prophylactic action and in the thorough dispersion of the composition throughout the oral cavity, and to improve cosmetic acceptability and detersive and foaming properties. Its surface active properties help to promote reaction of the bicarbonate and acidic material, and thereby it assists in increasing the effervescence produced. Among the organic surfactants are water soluble salts of the higher alkyl sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate or other suitable alkyl sulfate having 8 to 18 carbon atoms in the alkyl group; water soluble salts of sulfonated monoglycerides of higher fatty acids, such as sodium coconut monoglyceride sulfonate or other suitable sulfonated monoglyceride of a fatty acid of 10 to 18 carbon atoms; salts of amides of higher fatty acid, e.g., 12 to 16 carbon atom acids, with lower aliphatic amino acids, e.g., taurine or sarcosine, or other amino acid of 2 to 6 carbon atoms, such as sodium-N-methyl-N-palmitoyl tauride, sodium N-lauroyl-, N-myristoyl- and N-palmitoyl sarcosinates; water soluble salts of the esters of such fatty acids with isethionic acid or with glycerol monosulfate, such as the sodium salt of monosulfated monoglyceride of hydrogenated coconut oil fatty acids; water soluble salts of olefin sulfonates, e.g., alkene sulfonates or hydroxyalkene sulfonates or mixtures thereof having 12 to 16 carbon atoms in the carbon chain of the molecule; and water soluble soaps of higher fatty acids, such as those of 12 to 18 carbon atoms, e.g., coconut fatty acids. The cation of the salt may be sodium (which is preferred), potassium or mono-, di- or triethanolamine. Mixtures of surface active agents may be used. A particularly suitable mixture which provides a high foaming powder with little or no irritating effect comprises a higher alkyl sulfate and a higher fatty acid sarcosinate, e.g., in a ratio of about 1:2 to 2:1, such as about 1:1, instead of all or part of the sarcosinate a higher fatty acid monoglyceride sulfonate or other surface actie agent may be present. Also, other such mixtures of surfactants may be used.

Other suitable surface active materials include nonionic agents, such as condensates of sorbitan monostearate with approximately 20 moles of ethylene oxide; condensates of ethylene oxide with propylene oxide condensates of propylene glycol (available under the trademark “Pluronics”); and amphoteric agents such as quaternized imidazole derivatives, which are available under the trademark “Miranol”, such as Miranol C2M. Cationic surface active germicides and antibacterial compounds may also be used, as described, for example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,757, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

In some compositions, it is preferred to use from about 0.05 to 5% total weight of one or more of the foregoing surface active materials. The proportion of surface active agent in the first toothpaste portion is usually within the range of about 0.05 to 5%, preferably being in the range of about 1 to 3%, such as about 11/2 to 2%. While the second portion may contain similar percentages of surface active agent, often none will be used therein.

Cationic antibacterial agents may also be included in compositions, for example such as those described above. These agents may be used in amounts ranging from about 0.01 to 5% by weight of the first portion. Of course, when the first portion contains an anionic surface active agent or other anionic material that could adversely react with the antibacterial agent, the cationic material could best be in the second portion, which would contain no such reactive component.

Any suitable flavoring or sweetening materials may be employed in formulating a flavor for toothpaste compositions. Examples of suitable flavoring constituents include the flavoring oils, for example, oils of spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen, sassafras, clove, sage, eucalyptus, marjoram, cinnamon, lemon and orange, as well as methyl salicylate. Suitable sweetening agents include lactose, maltose, sorbitol, sodium cyclamate, perrillartine, saccharine and amoniated glycyrrhizin, e.g., as its monoammonium salt. Suitably, flavor and sweetening agent together comprise from about 0.01 to 5% or more of the composition. Preferably the amount of flavoring oil is above 0.5%, e.g., 0.7 to 2% or 0.8 to 1.2%, and the sweetening agent is from 0.1 to 4 or 0.1 to 0.5% (the latter range being for artificial sweeteners, such as saccharine).

The first portion may also contain a fluoride-containing anticaries agent. There are many water-soluble inorganic salts which are suitable sources of fluoride ions. Among these are sodium, potassium, ammonium, lithium and amine fluorides. The monofluorophosphate salts are also useful and include Na4P3O9F, K4P3O9F, (NH4)4P3O9F, Na3KP3O9F, (NH4)3NaP3O9F, and Li4P3O9F. Complex water soluble fluoride-containing salts, such as fluorosilicate (Na2 SiF6), fluorozirconate (Na2ZrF6), fluorostannite (KSnF3), fluoroborate (NaBF4), fluorotitanate (NaTiF5), and fluorogermanate (K2 GeF6) may also be used. The fluoride ion may also be supplied by an organic fluoride which yields fluoride ions in water. Suitable such organic compounds include mono-, di-, and triethanolamine hydrofluorides. These materials are present in an effective but non-toxic amount, usually within such a range as to provide about 0.01 to 1% by weight (dentifrice basis) of the water soluble fluorine content thereof. Sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophosphate are the preferred compounds.

Various other materials may be incorporated into the dentifrice preparations of this invention. Non-limiting examples thereof include coloring and whitening agents (some of which have been mentioned), preservatives, silicones and chlorophyll compounds, and mixtures thereof. These adjuvants are incorporated in the instant compositions in amounts which do not substantially adversely affect the properties and characteristics desired, and are selected and used in proper amounts, depending upon the particular type of preparation involved. Preferably, to make attractive striped toothpastes the coloring agent (often only 0.0001 to 0.1% of the total toothpaste, is entirely in the second portion, but this is not required. It may be in the first portion only, or in both portions, and different colors may be in such portions.

The second portion of the toothpaste of the invention, which is maintained physically separate from the first portion prior to extrusion from the toothpaste container, comprises a vehicle of a liquid selected from the group consisting of water, at least one viscous water miscible polyol humectant, and a mixture thereof, and about 1 to 20% by weight of said second portion of an acidic compound which has a pH of about 1.5 to 5.5 in water at a concentration from about 0.5 to 10%, and which is reactive with the sodium bicarbonate of the first portion when in contact therewith to cause the bicarbonate to effervesce with the formation of carbon dioxide. A preferred pH range is from about 1.5 to 3.

The vehicle most preferably includes water, glycerol, sorbitol, polyethylene glycol, maltitol, or mannitol, or any mixture thereof, as 20 to 99% by weight of the portion. The vehicle may be formulated similarly to the vehicle of the first portion, so that the two portions will be of similar apparent physical characteristics, which will permit them to be physically compatible and will allow the creation of a desirably attractive striped appearance when they are of different colors and are extruded together from a toothpaste container. In particular, amounts of gelling or thickening agent such as are present in the first portion may be present in the second portion. The second portion may optionally contain amounts of other ingredients which were described as includable in the first portion, providing that they are non-reactive with the acidic compound. Water insoluble polishing agents or abrasives which may be used in the second portion include conventional dentifrice polishing agents, such as insoluble sodium metaphosphate, dicalcium phosphate (anhydrous and/or dihydrate), and/or calcium pyrophosphate, silica (including sodium aluminosilicate or silica combined with alumina), zirconium silicate, and the like, providing that they are stable and non-reactive with the acidic compound. However, often such polishing agents will be omitted from the second portion or the proportions thereof will be less than in the first portion. The second portion of the toothpaste may be formulated as a visually clear or opaque composition, whether or not a polishing agent is present. Such effects are also obtainable for the first portion.

The degree of effervescence which is obtained when the acidic compound of the second portion comes into contact with the sodium bicarbonate of the first portion after extrusion from the toothpaste container can be adjusted by changing the ratio of the two portions to each other (useful ranges are about 0.5:1 to 40:1 or 50:1, preferably 0.7:1 to 20:1, more preferably 0.8:1 to 5:1, e.g., 1:1 by weight, of the first to the second portion), and the relative amounts of sodium bicarbonate and acidic compound present in the total toothpaste. The range of ratios may desirably be about 1:1 to 10:1 when about 20 to 40% by weight of sodium bicarbonate is in the first portion and about 4 to 10% by weight of acidic compound is in the second portion.

Acidic compounds which can be present in the second portion are malic acid, alginic acid, citric acid, succinic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, potassium bitartrate, acid sodium citrate, phosphoric acid and acid phosphate and pyrophosphate salts, such as monosodium phosphate and disodium pyrophosphate. The acids, and particularly organic acids, are preferred. The acidic compounds will comprise about 1 to 20% by weight of the second portion, preferably 2 to 15% and more preferably about 4 to 10% thereof.

In a particular embodiment, a container according to the present invention includes a first collapsible compartment, e.g., compartment 20 of FIG. 1, which is configured as a dual-dispense container including two inner chambers. Each chamber is capable of holding a formula composition separate from the other (to prevent mixing of the two compositions in the package) and such that upon squeezing the tube, the two formula compositions in the two chambers extrude through a dual-dispense orifice of the tube in about a 1:1 ratio by weight. Upon extrusion one portion appears as a stripe on the other, with the toothpaste being of two such different “stripes”. To make more stripes any of various fittings for the tube neck (internal baffles) may be used, such as are known in the art.

A toothpaste of the formula of Portion 1, set forth below, is incorporated in the above described compartment in the first chamber and a composition of the formula of Portion 2 is incorporated into the second chamber. Exemplary formulae of the portions are:

PARTS (by weight)
COMPONENTSPORTION 1PORTION 2
Glycerol33.0 26.00 
Sorbitol (70%, aqueous)27.88 
Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose0.8
Xanthan gum0.50
Silica aerogel thickener*0.53.00
Sodium benzoate (preservative)0.50.10
Sodium saccharine0.2
Silica containing combined alumina**17.5 30.00 
Calcium carbonate2.5
Sodium bicarbonate20.0 
Sodium lauryl sulfate1.5
Titanium dioxide0.4
Malic acid4.50
Flavor1.0
Color (FD & C Blue No. 1, 1% aq. sol.)0.02
Deionized waterQ.S. to 100.00Q.S. to 100.00

Other Component Combinations

In some embodiments, a first compartment of a two-compartment container according to the present invention may hold a toothpaste and the other may hold any other personal care product, e.g., a hand cream, soap, shampoo, etc. In fact, any dispensable material, for example liquids, semi-liquids, lotions, creams, pastes or gels that can be expelled from the tube, e.g., by squeezing the tube, can be stored in each compartment, or in a singular compartment.

The product dispensed from each opening may be the same or of different varieties, and may include any personal, household, or professional products, e.g., products for facial, oral, skin, or hair care, medications, lubricants, glues, sealants, paints, food, condiments and/or and other household or professional products. The products in a particular tube may be similar, but have different flavors, aroma or strength, such as products for adult or child, male or female, regular or extra-strength, etc. Preferably, each side of a tube and/or opening is marked by distinguishing indicia for easy identification of one side of the tube as compared to the other side.

In other embodiments, different product which are commonly used together may be included in the same container and dispensed from approximately opposite ends of the container. In some embodiments, a dual-dispensing tubular container includes any combination of personal care products, such as, for example, a toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, soap, lotion, sunscreen, after-sun lotion, facial wash, body wash, facial cream, makeup, first aid products, medications, etc. For example, particular combinations of products include shampoo and conditioner, shampoo and soap, soap and lotion, facial soap and hand soap, facial cleanser and lotion or cream, two types of sunscreens, sunscreen and lotion, baby toothpaste and baby lotion, diaper cream and baby power, baby oil and baby lotion. In other embodiments, a tubular container may include different combinations of household or professional products which may be used alone or in combination, such as adhesives, sealants, cleansers, lubricants and any other products that are capable of being dispensed from a collapsible tubular container.

Many modifications and variations of this invention can be made without departing from its spirit and scope, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art. In particular, it will be clear to those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in other specific forms, structures, arrangements, proportions, and with other elements, materials, and components, without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The specific embodiments described herein are offered by way of example only, and the invention is to be limited only by the terms of the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.