Title:
Tooth care product capsules and container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An individual single use capsule provides a tooth care product, such as toothpaste. The device comprises a non-resealable opening at one end to permit the product to be opened so that the tooth care product can be dispensed. The device preferably is made of a material that is compressible by the user so that the user can squeeze the tooth care product out of the device.



Inventors:
Brooks, Michael (Killaloe, CA)
Brooks, Peggy (Killaloe, CA)
Application Number:
11/785032
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
04/13/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/538, 222/541.1
International Classes:
B65D35/00; B65D47/10; B65D83/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JACYNA, J CASIMER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHES, MCKENZIE & HERBERT, LLP (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A device for dispensing tooth care product comprising: a single-use capsule for containing a single portion of tooth care product and a non-re-sealable opening at one end of the capsule, wherein the capsule is made of a material that is compressible to squeeze the tooth care product out of the capsule.

2. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the non-re-sealable opening is a tear-away tab.

3. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the non-re-sealable opening is a twist-off tab.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the capsule is made of transparent material.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein the capsule is made of tinted material.

6. A container for storing a dispensing tooth care product capsules comprising: a cap and a base and at least one flip-up tab providing an opening to dispense the capsules.

7. The container of claim 6 wherein at least one partition is provided to separate the container into at least two independent compartments.

8. The container of claim 7 wherein each independent compartment is provided with its own flip-up tab.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/791,457 filed Apr. 13, 2006, entitled Tooth Care Product Capsules and Container.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to packaging of tooth care product and a container for containing the packaging. In particular, the present invention relates to single-use tooth care product capsules for dispensing individual amounts of tooth care product. The amount of the tooth care product will be sufficiently enough to provide for a single application of the tooth care product. In addition, the present invention relates to a container for containing the single use tooth care product capsules and dispensing them when needed.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

In the past, various types of containers have been used to dispense tooth care products including tubes, pumps and other capsules. These devices and their disadvantages have been varied.

For example, the standard toothpaste dispenser is a tube of compressible and flexible material with a cap or other re-sealable means provided at one end. When the toothpaste is required, the user opens the re-sealable means and presses the tube to create toothpaste flow through the opening. In this case, the only way to control the amount of toothpaste that exits is by pressing the tube with more or less pressure. There is no way to prevent more toothpaste from exiting than required. This may cause more toothpaste than required to exit the tube thereby causing waste and increasing costs. In addition, each application of the toothpaste may be more or less than the recommended amount causing either additional waste or not providing enough toothpaste to adequately brush the user's teeth. Using toothpaste in excess of the recommended amount can also damage teeth.

The design of the tube also makes it difficult to ensure all the toothpaste in the tube is used. The user must press, squeeze and roll the tube to obtain the maximum amount of toothpaste out of the tube. Leaving extra toothpaste in the tube because of the difficulty at getting the toothpaste out again causes waste and increases costs.

Carrying an entire tube of toothpaste when traveling can be cumbersome, especially when only a single application of the toothpaste is required. Tubes of toothpaste are not easily portable and cannot be easily carried in pockets or small bags. In addition, the caps or other re-sealable means can get lost or can be sealed improperly. This can result in toothpaste spillage inside travel bags when pressure is applied to the bags. Toothpaste may also leak out while sitting beside a sink or wherever the tube is left open causing both a mess and waste of the toothpaste.

When the user applies the toothpaste to the toothbrush, the individual's toothbrush often comes into contact with the toothpaste tube. This may allow germs on the toothbrush to spread to the toothpaste in the tube, and then to spread between different users of the same tube.

A single tube of toothpaste also does not allow the user to select a different flavour each time they brush. A single tube of toothpaste only allows a single flavour to be dispensed so user must either wait until the tube is finished or buy more than one tube to have a selection of different flavoured toothpastes.

Various types of toothpaste pumps have also been designed with a hard outer shell and a pumping means to cause the toothpaste to exit the pump. As mentioned for the tube, above, the pump can be cumbersome to transport and still has the problem that unhygienic germs can be spread between different users.

The outer shell of the pumps can provide protection against involuntary leakage. However, such leakage can still occur as the pump itself could be depressed or if the pump is sealed improperly. The risk of leakage is always present after the pump has been opened and used for the first time.

The pump also only allows a single flavour of toothpaste to be dispensed. The user must either wait until the pump is finished or purchase multiple pumps to be used at the same time. This is not practical or cost efficient.

Various types of tooth care product capsules with individual toothpaste portions have been developed also. These capsules, however, need to be opened by either biting or placing the capsule inside the user's mouth so the capsule can be dissolved. The process of biting a capsule can be a messy process and can cause additional leakage either in the mouth, or clothing and/or elsewhere. Also, biting a capsule open cannot be done with a great amount of precision which can cause additional loss of the toothpaste. Furthermore, if the patient suffers from a dental condition, biting the capsule may be difficult and/or painful.

Using your teeth or placing the entire capsule in your mouth to be opened makes it likely that only the person who opens the capsule will be using the toothpaste inside. It is unlikely that one person would open the capsule and another person would use the toothpaste after it had been in someone else's mouth.

In addition, small children will not likely be able to use these capsules because parents are unlikely to allow their children to put capsules of toothpaste in their mouths and children would also have difficulty opening the small capsules with their teeth.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Accordingly, it is the object of this invention at least to partially overcome the disadvantages of the prior art. Also, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved means for dispensing toothpaste for a single use.

In one aspect, the present invention provides a single-use capsule to dispense tooth care product corresponding to the recommended amount. The capsules are designed to contain only a single use amount of tooth care product and are designed with a tear-away, peel-back or twist-off tab at one end to allow for the capsule to be opened.

The single-use capsules, containing the recommended amount of tooth care product is sufficiently small to be portable for any occasion. The capsule itself is made out of a material that can be easily compressed and changes shape to allow the toothpaste to be squeezed out of the capsule. The small size capsules avoid waste of toothpaste because each capsule can be easily pressed to dispense the maximum amount of toothpaste contained in the capsule. Individual sizes also reduce the chance of spillage while also ensuring the right amount of toothpaste is used for each application and avoids waste of any toothpaste.

The tear-away or twist-off tab at one end allows the capsule to be opened to release the tooth care product. The tab is designed so that it can be easily removed to open the capsule. The tear-away or twist-off tab allows the capsule to be opened without the need to be placed in the mouth of the user to dissolve or bitten by the user to release the tooth care product. After the capsule is opened, the entire contents are used and the capsule is discarded.

Unused capsules can be transported, as they have not been opened. Since the capsules are individual use, only capsules that have not been opened are transported. This avoids the problem of ensuring that the tooth care product is properly sealed when transporting the toothpaste. It also favourably avoids the problem of opening your suitcase and finding that toothpaste has been dispensed all over your clothes during travelling.

The user uses their hands to open the tear-away or twist-off tab. This avoids the problem of having the toothpaste squirt into the individual's mouth when biting into it, as may happen with the other capsule designs outlined above. This also avoids any messy openings. In addition, the individual capsules can be opened by one individual and used by another individual, for example, in a situation where a small child who would not be permitted to open the capsule in their mouth to use the toothpaste dispensed by the capsule. The tear-away or twist-off tabs are designed to withstand pressure and puncturing. This design decreases the likelihood that a puncture will happen in the capsule as compared to a capsule where it is designed to be punctured by a tooth or dissolving in the individual's mouth such as the other capsules outlined above.

The capsules are designed to either be transparent, in order to see the colour of the toothpaste product contained within, or the capsules are coloured or tinted where the colours or tinting indicate a different flavour of toothpaste. The individual capsules allow the user to select an individual flavour for each time they are brushing their teeth. Therefore, the user can change toothpaste flavours without opening a new tube or pump. This feature is especially helpful for children as they are able to individually select the toothpaste flavour they wish.

The individual use toothpaste capsules also avoid any unhygienic results that can happen when using a toothpaste dispenser or tube. Only the individual using that toothpaste would need to open the capsule and different individuals would not be getting toothpaste from a single dispenser.

One aspect of the present invention is a container for storing the tooth care product capsules. The container can have a cap and a base so that the container can be opened to add or replace capsules inside. In one embodiment, the cap and base are threaded to create a tight seal between them.

In a further aspect, the present invention provides a cap with flip-up tabs to allow individual capsules to be dispensed out of the container. The tabs can be designed to snap closed to seal the container.

In a further aspect, the present invention provides a container with at least one partition separating the container into at least two individual compartments. The individual compartments can be used to store different flavours of the capsules. Each individual compartment will have a flip-up tab to allow each different flavoured capsule to be dispensed.

In a still further aspect, the present invention provides a legend to be either attached to the container or close to the container. The legend shows the different colours of capsules and the associated flavours.

In a further aspect, the present invention provides a device for dispensing tooth care product comprising: a single-use capsule for containing a single portion of tooth care product and a non-re-sealable opening at one end of the capsule, wherein the capsule is made of a material that is compressible to squeeze the tooth care product out of the capsule.

In a further aspect, the present invention provides a container for storing a dispensing tooth care product capsules comprising: a cap and a base and at least one flip-up tab providing an opening to dispense the capsules.

Further aspects of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and drawings, which illustrate the invention and preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, which illustrate embodiments of the invention:

FIG. 1 illustrates a single use capsule for dispensing the toothpaste.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the multiple chamber container.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of the container showing the flip-up tabs and partitions that create individual compartments.

FIG. 4 illustrates a legend to identify the capsules.

FIG. 5 illustrates a package of refill capsules.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments of the invention and its advantages can be understood by referring to the present drawings.

As shown in FIG. 1, one of the embodiments of the present invention is a capsule 1 provided with a tear-away or twist-off tab 2 that opens the capsule and allows for the dispensing of the tooth care product contained within the capsule 1. After the tear-away or twist-off tab 2 has been opened, the capsule can be pressed to dispense the tooth care product. Because of its small size, the entirety of the capsule can be pressed to ensure that all of the tooth care product will be dispensed. One way that the capsule can be pressed is by squeezing the capsule between the thumb and a finger.

FIG. 2 shows the container 3 with a cap for a base 5 for holding the toothpaste capsules 1. The container 3 can be made of a material that will prevent crushing of the individual capsules 1 if pressure is applied. For example, the capsules 1 can be placed in the container 3 when traveling to both keep them organized and to add additional protection to prevent the capsules from accidentally bursting if they come under strong direct pressure. The container is made up of a cap 4 that may be threaded so as to seal with base 5. This relationship between the cap 4 and the base 5 allows the container to be refilled with capsules by removing the cap and placing the capsules 1 inside. The container 3 is then sealed with the cap to prevent any of the capsules 1 from being misplaced.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the tab 4 with flip-up tabs 6 that can be opened to allow the capsules 1 to be dispensed. As shown in FIG. 3, the container 3 can be separated by partitions 7 to allow more than one flavour of tooth care product to be stored. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the container 3 is separated into four individual compartments 8. Flip-up tabs 6 allow access to the individual compartments 8 where the capsules are stored. The tabs can lift up to allow the capsule to come out and snap back into place to seal the container.

FIG. 4 shows a legend to distinguish the different flavours of capsules. The legend can be placed on the side of the container or near the container to indicate which individual compartment the different types of capsules are in. The different flavours of capsules can be indicated by either different colour tooth care products, seen through a clear capsule, or by different colour capsules.

FIG. 5 shows a package of replacement capsules that can be purchased and placed inside the container for future use. Replacement capsules can be sold without the container to reduce the cost of buying a new container each time.

It will be understood that, although various features of the invention have been described with respect to one or another of the embodiments of the invention, the various features and embodiments of the invention may be combined or used in conjunction with other features and embodiments of the invention as described and illustrated herein.

Although this disclosure has described and illustrated certain preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not restricted to these particular embodiments. Rather, the invention includes all embodiments, which are functional equivalents of the specific embodiments and features that have been described and illustrated herein.