EP1096889A4 - Clean breath wand system - Google Patents

Clean breath wand system

Info

Publication number
EP1096889A4
EP1096889A4 EP19990932169 EP99932169A EP1096889A4 EP 1096889 A4 EP1096889 A4 EP 1096889A4 EP 19990932169 EP19990932169 EP 19990932169 EP 99932169 A EP99932169 A EP 99932169A EP 1096889 A4 EP1096889 A4 EP 1096889A4
Authority
EP
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
wand
liquid
tongue
end
breath
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
EP19990932169
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP1096889A1 (en )
Inventor
Rita S Foley
Patrick F Foley
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Water Pik Inc
Original Assignee
Rita S Foley
Patrick F Foley
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B17/00Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets
    • A61B17/24Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets for use in the oral cavity, larynx, bronchial passages or nose; Tongue scrapers
    • A61B17/244Surgical instruments, devices or methods, e.g. tourniquets for use in the oral cavity, larynx, bronchial passages or nose; Tongue scrapers for cleaning of the tongue

Abstract

A clean breath wand (10) for use in removing Halitosis bacteria and bacterial by-products from a user's tongue includes a body (26) having a distal end (20) and a proximal end (16), a head (34) operatively connected to the body (26) and having an outer end face, at least one opening (42) in the head (34) configured for being fluidly coupled to a source of liquid and positioned to direct a stream of the liquid upon the tongue, at least one tongue-scraping formation disposed on the outer end face and configured for engaging the bacteria on the user's tongue. Each, such tongue scraping formation is located in operational relationship to the at least one opening (42) so that movement of the formation upon the tongue, in combination with the emission of the liquid under pressure from the opening (42), dislodges the bacteria and its by-products from the tongue. Also provided is a replacement cartridge for providing the liquid to such a wand.

Description

CLEAN BREATH WAND SYSTEM RELATED APPLICATION This application is a Continuation In Part of U.S. Serial No. 08/824,502 filed March 26, 1997 and entitled, "Clean Breath Wand". BACKGROUND ART

The present invention relates to devices for removing Halitosis bacteria and bacterial by-products from a user's tongue, and more particularly to a clean breath wand comprising a combined tongue scraper and liquid flushing or irrigation system. Heretofore a number of oral irrigators have been proposed for irrigating the mouth and particularly the area around the teeth. Examples of such prior art oral irrigators are disclosed in the following U.S. patents:

U.S. Patent No. Patentee

5,558,518 Bab et al.

5,218,956 Handler et al.

5,127,831 Bab

4,979,504 Mills

4,973,250 Milman

4,958,751 Curtis et al.

4,787,845 Valentine

Also, heretofore a number of tongue scraping devices have been proposed and several examples of same are disclosed in the following U.S. patents:

U.S. Patent No. Patentee 5,569,278 Persad

5,217,475 Kuber

4,488,327 Snider

However, a combined tongue scraper and oral irrigator for washing or flushing the tongue under pressure while scraping same thereby to riiinimize and reduce Halitosis, a condition more commonly referred to as "bad breath," has not heretofore been proposed.

According to the April, 1996, issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, two of three people in the United States are believed to have Halitosis. Bad breath is usually caused by sulfur and other odoriferous compounds released by bacteria on the surface of the tongue. It is now known that over 90% of bad breath is due to oral conditions, Id. Unless a person has advanced periodontal disease or severe dental decay, the most common cause of bad breath is tongue bacteria. This is in contrast to popular opinion, which holds that bad breath is due to systemic disease or gastrointestinal disorder. In fact, those maladies account for only a small portion of bad breath cases.

One of the most common treatments for this malady is commercially available mouthwash, which temporarily masks the odor and loses its effectiveness after about one hour. Similarly, the use of chewing gum, breath mints or inty candy do not attack the sulfur-based bacteria.

As far as clinical treatment for Halitosis, dentists typically rinse or brush the tongue with an anti-gingivitis solution such as chlorhexidine, commercially available under the trademark PERIDEX manufactured by Procter and Gamble, and PERIOGUARD, manufactured by Colgate, or triclosan, sold under the trademark TOTAL and manufactured by Colgate. However, these antimicrobials are broad spectrum and, while they reduce the overall numbers of bacteria, do not target bacteria which produce sulfur compounds. Thus, these rinses are not totally effective because some of the odor-producing compounds still persist. A new type of anti-microbial rinse has recently been employed to combat mouth bacteria, and chemically targets sulfur molecules which cause Halitosis. These rinses typically incorporate zinc or chlorine-dioxide, and have been tested by swishing or gargling in the user's mouth. It has been found that simple swishing only provides some benefit and does not penetrate the tongue crevices, so the rinse must be used several times a day for satisfactory results.

Referring now to tongue scrapers, a drawback of conventional tongue scrapers is that they partially remove coatings from the tongue which are comprised of bacteria and their by-products. However, tongue scrapers do not remove all bacteria, especially the bacterial colonies found in the many deep crevices and wrinkles in the human tongue. Bacteria in these hidden places are not eliminated by either tongue scrapers or conventional rinses. In addition, many conventional tongue scrapers are configured such that they inadvertently generate a gag reflex in the user, which discourages their use. For the reasons discussed above, the sequential use of tongue scraping and swishing of anti-microbial liquids will not substantially dirninish the Halitosis bacteria and bacterial by-products from the tongue's crevices.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved system for treating Halitosis by both physically disrupting the bacteria on the tongue and effectively applying a liquid to the tongue to eliminate and/or flush away the bacteria.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved clean breath device which employs a combination of physical tongue scraping and the simultaneous, directed emission of pressurized liquid to treat Halitosis bacteria on the tongue.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide an improved clean breath treatment device which features a replaceable cartridge containing the treatment liquid. DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

The above-identified objects are met or exceeded by the present clean breath system, which features the use of a tongue scraping formation combined with the application of a directed pressurized liquid to simultaneously dislodge or disrupt the Halitosis bacteria, and to further neutralize and/or flush the bacteria from the tongue. A clean breath wand embodying the invention includes at least one tongue scraping formation in close operational relationship to openings which emit pressurized liquid for penetrating the deep crevices of the tongue. Also, a replacement cartridge of the treatment liquid may be provided to enable the economical and efficient reuse of the clean breath wand.

More specifically, the present invention provides a clean breath wand for use in removing Halitosis bacteria from a user's tongue and includes a body having a distal end and a proximal end, a head operatively connected to the body, at least one opening in the head configured for being fluidly coupled to a source of liquid and positioned to direct a stream of the liquid upon the tongue, at least one tongue-scraping formation disposed on the head and configured for engaging the bacteria on the user's tongue. Each, such formation is located in operational relationship to the at least one opening so that movement of the formation upon the tongue, in combination with the emission of the liquid under pressure from the opening, dislodges the bacteria and bacterial by-products from the tongue. Also provided is a replacement cartridge for providing the liquid to such a wand.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a method for removing Halitosis bacteria from a surface of a user's tongue, including: disrupting the bacteria through physical contact; and simultaneously flusliing the disrupted bacteria from the tongue with a liquid. If desired, energy may be employed to assist in the disruption or dislodgement of the bacteria and bacterial by-products from the tongue.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a clean breath wand constructed according to the teachings of the present invention;

FIGs. 2A-2E are a front end view of various shapes or configurations of a front end face of the clean breath wand shown in FIG. 1 and are taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and in the direction indicated; FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a handle portion of the clean breath wand and is taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1 and in the direction indicated;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view with portions broken away of the connection of a proximal end of the clean breath wand to a distal end of a hose leading to an oral irrigator mechanism commonly known as an oral irrigator;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary side elevational view of a hose having one end connected to the proximal end of the wand and having an adapter at its other end for connection to a faucet;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the proximal end of the clean breath wand coupled to a distal end of a hose having at its proximal end connected to a squeeze bulb;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the proximal end of the clean breath wand coupled to a distal end of a hose and having at its proximal end a bellows shaped bladder; FIG. 8 is a front end view of another configuration of a front end face of the head end of the clean breath wand and is similar to the view shown in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 9 is a top end elevational view of another embodiment of a head end similar to the head end shown in FIG. 1, but showing another form of scraping blade;

FIG. 10 is a top end elevational view of still another embodiment of a head end similar to the head end shown in FIG. 9, but showing still another form of scraping blade;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of another alternate embodiment of the clean breath wand of FIG. 1, showing a pressurized liquid-containing cartridge engaged on the proximal end of the wand;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary top perspective view of the cartridge shown in FIG. 11; FIG. 13 is a fragmentary side elevational view of another alternate embodiment of the clean breath wand of FIG. 1, showing a liquid-containing cartridge with a manually operated pump mechanism for its pressurization;

FIG. 14 is a sectional schematic representation of yet another alternate embodiment of the clean breath wand of FIG. 1, showing the use of an acoustic transducer to transmit acoustic energy through the liquid to the tongue; and

FIG. 15 is a side elevational view of still another alternate embodiment of the clean breath wand of FIG. 1 which utilizes a siphon arrangement to draw concentrated liquid into a pressurized flow of water.

BEST MODE OF CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a side elevational view of a clean breath wand generally designated 10 and constructed according to the teachings of the present invention. As shown, the clean breath wand 10 includes a handle portion 12 having a plurality of spaced, parallel elongate ribs 14 to facilitate gripping of the handle portion 12. These ribs 14 are also shown in section in FIG. 3. It is contemplated that other types of equivalent gripping formations may be employed, including but not limited to checkering, raised bosses or teats, and portions of relatively soft plastic or rubber. At a proximal end 16 of the clean breath wand 10 is a coupling member 18 which, in the illustrated embodiment, is an elastomeric or rubber coupling member 18 which is received over the proximal end 16 of the clean breath wand 10 at one end and which is fitted over or fixed to a distal end 20 of a hose 22 at its other end. As shown, above or distally displaced from the handle portion 12 is a button member 24 which can be spring biased against retraction into the handle portion, and which is adapted to be squeezed into a hollow body portion 26 of the wand 10 for squeezing a flexible tubing 30 (shown hidden) inside the hollow body portion 26 of the wand 10. In this manner, the button member 24 acts as a valve or flow control over liquid flowing through the tubing. It is also contemplated that the button member 24 may be biased by the fluid pressure of liquid in the flexible tubing 30 without the use of a spring. It is still further contemplated that the Uquid may flow through the hollow body portion 26 without the use of the tubing 30. In that case, the button member would be modified to be a flow regulator valve.

It will be understood that the flexible tubing 30 is coupled to the hose 22 to achieve fluid-tight communication between the two elements. This can be achieved by fixing the outer periphery of the tubing 30 at a proximal end to the interior wall surface 32 (FIG. 3) of the hollow body portion 26 of the wand 10.

Opposite the proximal end 16 of the handle 12 is a head 34 located at a distal or head end 36 of the wand 10. By applying pressure to the button member 24, the user of the wand 10 can throttle or stop the dispensing of liquid from the head end 36 of the wand 10 as described below. A distal, preferably flared or widened end 38 of the tubing 30 is in communication with a back side 39 of the head end 36. As shown in FIG. 2A, the head 34 has an outer end face 40 with openings, generally designated 42, through which an irrigating and flusliing liquid can be dispensed. The wall surface 32 defines a passageway which is in fluid communication with the openings 42. It is preferred that the liquid is an anti-microbial rinse which chemically targets molecules of the type causing Halitosis. These rinses typically incorporate zinc or chlorine-dioxide, and, while these constituents are not anti-microbial, they neutralize the odoriferous compounds produced by Halitosis bacteria. It is also contemplated that the liquid can be tap or purified water, mouthwash, dental oral rinse, anti-gingival rinse, or other liquid designed to promote oral hygiene, and/or having antibacterial properties.

Referring again to FIGs. 1 and 2A, three tongue scraping formations, which will be generally designated 51, and which are scraping ridges, ribs or blades 51-53 are provided on the outer end face 40 for scraping the tongue of a user. As shown in FIG. 2A two rows of three openings 54 and two openings 55 are located between the blade 53 and the proximal end 16 on the head 34.

It will be understood that different shapes of the head 34 can be provided, such as a generally square shape as shown in FIGS. 2A-2E, an oval or elliptical head as disclosed in FIGs. 11 and 13, a triangular shaped head, an oblong

T- shaped head, whereby the clean breath wand 10 looks something like a shaving safety razor unit, or other shapes as desired in specific applications. An important feature of the head 34 is that it have a relatively thin vertical profile in the orientation shown in FIG. 1 to minimize gag reflexes by the user as the wand is moved rearwardly in the user's mouth to treat the rear portions of the tongue.

Also, and as shown in FIGS. 2A-2E, the outer end face 40 of the head 34 of the wand 10 can have various configurations of irrigating openings and scraping formations or blades 51. Thus, as shown in FIG. 2B, the outer end face 40 can have a first row of two irrigating openings 56, a second row having a first scraping blade 57, a third row having three irrigating openings 58, and a fourth row having a second scraping blade 59. In addition or as an alternative, two openings 60 can be provided in the blade 57 (including on the very edge which contacts the tongue) and one opening 61 in the blade 59. As a further alternative, the holes 60, 61 can be provided in a side wall 50 of each blade 57, 59. Then in FIG. 2C another configuration of the end face 40 is shown which includes a first row of two irrigating openings 62, a second row of three irrigating openings 64 with two scraping blades 66 and 68 below the two rows of openings. Additionally, vent holes 69 can be provided through the head 34 either above or below the scraping blades 66, 68 and the irrigating openings 62, 64 and are shown below the blade 68.

Still another configuration of the end face 40 is shown in FIG. 2D and includes two scraping blades 71-74 in a first row and a second row with three irrigating operiings 75 in a third row and two irrigating openings 76 in a fourth row. Finally, a further configuration of the end face 40 is shown in FIG. 2E and includes three pairs of scraping blades 81-86, each pair being arranged in a generally V configuration with three irrigating openings 88 in a "V'-shaped configuration between the first and second pairs of scraping blades 81-84, and three irrigating openings 90 in a "V'-shaped configuration positioned between the second and third pair of blades 83-86.

For any of the tongue scraping formations 51 described above and assigned various reference numbers, the formation preferably is rigid enough to be self-supporting, and also to dislodge the bacterial debris on the tongue without causing damage to the tongue. To address this latter concern, the formations 51 are preferably radiused along their tips where they contact the tongue. In certain applications, a certain degree of flexibility of the formations 51 is desirable for dislodging the bacteria, to the extent that the formations create a scrubbing action similar to that of a toothbrush bristle when the handle portion 12 is reciprocated relative to the tongue. It is further contemplated that the formations 51 may be flexible enough to be moved or vibrated through the action of the pressurized liquid flowing through the openings 42, particularly through the openings 60, 61 located in the formations 57, 59 (best seen in FIG. 2B).

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-section of the handle portion 12 of the wand 10 where six elongate gripping ribs 14 are provided on an outer surface 92 of the handle portion 12 which has a hollow interior 94 defined by the interior wall surface 32 in which is received the tubing 30. It is also contemplated that the tubing 30 may be positioned outside the handle portion 12 and is attached to the head 34 so that the tubing is in fluid communication with the openings 42. This alternative is depicted in FIG. 1 as tubing 30a (shown fragmentarily in phantom).

FIG. 4 illustrates a connection of a proximal end 100 of the hose 22 to a source of liquid or medicant, such as to a pump of an oral irrigator device 102. As shown, the hose 22 extends from the oral irrigator device 102 to the coupling member 18 which is connected to the proximal end 16 of the wand 10. As referred to above in relation to FIG. 1, the hose 22 may alternatively be connected to the external tubing 30a.

Referring now to FIG. 5, in some instances it may be desirable to use tap water as the liquid which is emitted through the openings 42, in which case the hose 22 has a coupling member 104 at its proximal end 100 which is configured for a releasable, sealing fit over the spout end of a conventional sink faucet 106 or a shower head, the latter for use in the bathtub or shower stall.

Referring now to FIG. 6, there is illustrated a portable clean breath wand assembly 108 which includes the wand 10 connected by the hose 22 to a squeezable bulb-type pump 110 releasably connected to the proximal end 100 of the hose 22. The bulb 110 can be disconnected from the wand 10, with or without the hose 22 attached to the bulb, so that the bulb can be refilled with a medicant or a breath freshener liquid as desired. The squeezable bulb 110 serves as a reservoir for a medicant or breath freshener liquid. Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown another portable clean breath wand assembly 120 which includes the wand 10, the hose 22 and a bellows type bladder 122 connected to the proximal end 100 of the hose 22, as shown in FIG. 6. Again, the bellows shaped bladder or pump 122, which serves as the source of pressurization of the liquid, is configured to be disconnected from the wand 10 with or without the hose 22 attached for refilling of the bellows shaped bladder 122 with a medicant or breath freshener liquid. Both the bulb 110 and the bladder 122 provide pressurized liquid to the openings 42 through a manual squeezing action by the user. In the breath wand assemblies 108, 120, it is also contemplated that the squeezable bulb 110 and the bellows type bladder 122 may be integrally or releasably attached to the body 12 without the use of a hose 22

(see description below relating to FIG 13. Also, it is contemplated that in the embodiments 108 and 120, the button member 24 is optional, since control of the liquid flow is determined by the manual pressurization of the bulb 110, or the bladder 122. Still other modifications of the clean breath wand 10 are shown in

FIGs. 8, 9, and 10. FIG. 8 shows still another configuration of the end face 40 where there is provided an arcuate shaped blade or rib 130, arcuate in the long direction of the blade or rib 130, an irrigating opening 131 in the center of the arc and a row of two irrigating openings 132, 133 below the center opening 131.

FIG. 9 illustrates another construction of the head 34. In this embodiment, at least one blade or rib 140 extends downwardly from the end face 40 in an arcuate manner, such as in a partial circle or in a rounded cornered, frusto-conical shape. In the preferred embodiment, a partial circular shape is shown.

Referring now to FIG. 10, there is depicted still another construction of the head 34. In this embodiment, at least one blade or rib 150 extends downwardly from the end face 40 in a generally U-shaped configuration with an inverted arc 152 in the middle of the blade or rib 150. Referring now to FIGs. 11 and 12, an alternate embodiment of the wand 10 is generally designated 160, and components which are identical to those of the wand 10 have been designated with identical reference numbers. One distinction of the wand 160 is that the head 162 includes ribs or blades 164 on each side of the at least one opening 166 (shown hidden) in addition to the rib 168 located at the proximal end. Another feature of the wand 160 is that the proximal end 16 is provided with a receptacle 170 (shown hidden) which is configured for receiving a nozzle 172 of a pressurized liquid cartridge 174. The nozzle 172 serves as a connector between the cartridge 174 and the handle portion 12.

In this embodiment, the cartridge 174 contains the liquid, designated 176, which is the same liquid which is emitted under pressure through the openings 42 as described above. It is preferred that the liquid 176 be of the type which treats Halitosis bacteria, as described above in relation to the zinc and chlorine dioxide rinses, however it is also contemplated that other liquids, including water, may be provided in the cartridge 174. Also, in the preferred embodiment, the cartridge 174 is of the disposable aerosol type, and, to dispense the hquid under pressure, the nozzle 172 incorporates a valve (not shown) which is opened as the nozzle is depressed axially upon engagement in the receptacle 170, as is known in the art. However, other equivalent, self-contained pressurization technologies are contemplated.

To secure the cartridge 174 to the proximal end 16, the cartridge or the proximal end may be provided with a somewhat flexible sleeve 178 which creates a tight friction fit between the handle portion 12 and a corresponding rigid axial collar 180 on the cartridge. It is also contemplated that other sorts of coupling attachments known to skilled practitioners can be employed to releasably and tightly secure the cartridge 174 to the handle portion 12, including, but not limited to bayonet-type push and twist couplings. Once attached to the handle portion 12, the cartridge 174 is in fluid communication with the flexible hose 30.

In use, when the user wishes to dispense pressurized fluid from the openings 42, while the head 34 is manipulated back and forth across the surface of the tongue, the button member 24 is actuated by pressing it in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the handle portion 12 and designated by the arrow 181 toward the proximal end 16, which presses a tubular actuator 182 against the nozzle 172. The actuator is preferably integrally joined to the button member 24, however other configurations are contemplated as are well known in the art. As discussed earlier, pressing the nozzle 172 in an axial direction opens an internal valve (not shown) of the cartridge to release the liquid under pressure through the actuator 182, into the tubing 30 and ultimately, out the openings 42. Once sufficient liquid is dispensed, the user releases the button member 24, which is spring biased to return to its rest position (best seen in FIG. 11).

When the cartridge 174 has been emptied of its liquid 176, the user merely uncouples the cartridge from the handle portion 12 by pulling axially, by rolling down the sleeve 178, by using a push/twist/pull motion as is known in the art or by other uncoupling motion, and reinserts a fresh cartridge by reversing the withdrawal procedure. It is to be appreciated that the wand 10 can be modified to be compatible with a cartridge 174 by modifying the proximal end 16 and altering the button member 24 to move axially and to have a tubular actuator 182. Referring now to FIG. 13, another alternate embodiment of the wand 10 is generally designated 184. Components of the wand 184 (shown in fragmentary form for purposes of clarity) which correspond to like components of the wands 10 and 160 are designated with identical reference numbers. The principal difference between the wand 184 and the wand 160 is that in the former, a cartridge 186 is provided in which the liquid 176 is manually pressurized by the user prior to use on the tongue. Thus, in many ways, this embodiment is similar to the embodiments of FIGs. 6 and 7, with the difference being that the cartridge or reservoir 186 is now attached to the handle portion or body 12.

Accordingly, the cartridge 186 includes a housing 188 having an internal wall 190 which retains a supply of the liquid 176, At an upper end of the housing 188, a cap 192 sealingly closes the housing and is provided with an axially projecting stem 194 having a throughbore 196. In similar fashion to the wand 160, the proximal end 16 of the handle portion 12 has a receptacle 170 for accommodating the stem 194 and for enabling the fluid coupling of the throughbore 196 with the tubing 30. It is contemplated that the tubing 30 and the stem 194 will engage each other with a mating, friction fit achieved by an axial push of the cartridge 186 into the receptacle 170.

To draw the hquid 176 from the cartridge housing or reservoir 188, the wand 184 is provided with a pump mechanism, generally designated 197, and which is similar to a conventional water pistol or to a pump sprayer used to dispense household cleaning fluids and pesticides. Although such devices are known in the art, they generally consist of a plunger or piston 198 which is biased by a spring 199 away from a passageway 200 through which flows the pumped hquid 176. The passageway 200 is in fluid communication with the tubing 30, and also with the housing or reservoir 188. In the preferred embodiment, the tubing 30 extends through the throughbore 196 and into the housing 188.

A trigger 201 is attached to the piston 198 to push it axially in a cylinder 202 against the spring force. It should be noted that in the preferred embodiment, the trigger 201 is located on the opposite side of the handle portion

12 from the button member 24 for easier manipulation by the user's forefinger. A trigger cup 203 encloses the cylinder 202, retains the spring 199 and is preferably integrally attached to the passageway 200. Each time the trigger 201 is depressed to assume the position shown in phantom in FIG. 13, a small volume of liquid 176 is pushed up the tubing 30 under pressure and out the openings 42.

As the trigger 201 is released, to assume the at rest position shown in solid in FIG. 13, the spring 199 pushes the piston 198 in the cylinder 202 away from the passageway 200, which creates a vacuum force due to the sealing fit between the piston and the cylinder 202. This vacuum force draws another portion of liquid 176 from the housing 188 for the next shot or depression of the trigger.

Upon exhaustion of the liquid 176 in the cartridge 184, the user may refill the cartridge through the axial throughbore 196. A syringe or other fitting (not shown) which matingly engages the throughbore is preferably provided with a bulk container of the liquid 176 to facilitate refilling of the cartridge 184. However, it is also contemplated that the cartridge 186 can be provided with a separate sealable refill cap, or that the cap 192 is removable and resealable.

Referring now to FIG. 14, another alternate embodiment of the wand 10 is schematically shown and generally designated 204. Components of the wand 204 which correspond to like components of the wands 10 and 160 are designated with identical reference numbers. An important feature of the wand 204 is that, instead of the physical disruption of the at least one tongue scraping formation 51, the wand 204 applies acoustic energy to the liquid 176 to achieve the disruption of the bacteria as well as the anti-microbial and fluslύng action already performed by the liquid. More specifically, the head 34 of the wand 204 is provided with an acoustic transducer 206 which is disposed in the head to be in communication with the hollow body passageway 32 so that the acoustic energy is directly applied to the flowing liquid 176. This energy is then utilized to physically fracture and/or dislodge the tongue bacteria, to kill bacteria when anti-microbial liquids 176 are used, and also to flush the dislodged and loosened bacteria from the tongue. In addition to the physical action of the ultrasonic energy generated by the transducer 206, the wand 204 may also be provided with at least one tongue scraping formation 51. At the proximal end 16, the wand 204 is provided with a power supply 208, such as a 9 V battery, and the necessary circuitry to trigger the transducer 206, such circuitry being known in the art. The power supply 208 is electrically connected to the transducer 206 by wires (not shown) passing through the handle portion 12. In addition, the wand 204 has a liquid reservoir 210 attached at the proximal end 16. Preferably equipped with an internal electrical pump 212 (shown hidden), which is also powered by the power supply 208, the reservoir 210 is dimensioned to retain a sufficient quantity of the liquid 176 to accomplish at least one tongue cleaning. A tubular conduit 214 allows liquid 176 to be pumped into the passageway 32, or if desired, the tubing 30.

In the preferred embodiment, the wand 204 is configured so that the reservoir 210 is refillable through a port 216 with a tethered, sealable cap 218. A bulk supply of the treatment liquid 176 may be provided for this purpose. However, as is the case with the wands 10, 160 and 184, it is also contemplated that the wand 204 may alternately be placed in direct liquid communication with a remote pressurized liquid source 102, 106, a pressurized cartridge 174 or a manually pumped cartridge 186.

Another feature of the wand 204 which is common to the wands 10, 160 and 184 is that the head 34 is operatively connected to the head end 36 of the handle portion 12 so that the outer end face 40 is generally parallel with an upper surface 220 of a tongue 222.

In this configuration, the wand more effectively removes tongue bacteria, and reduces the gag reflex in the user when pushed backward into the throat. Referring now to FIG. 15, another embodiment of the wand of the present invention is generally designated 224. Components of the wand 224 which correspond to like components of the wands 10, 160, 184 and 204 are designated with identical reference numbers. An important feature of the wand 224 is that it is connected to a source of pressurized fluid, preferably tap water, although other sources are contemplated, in the manner described in relation to

FIG. 5 above. The distmguishing feature here is that the treatment liquid 176 is drawn into the main flow of the pressurized fluid by a siphon action. Thus, a more concentrated supply of the liquid 176 may be placed in a reservoir, and upon its being drawn into the main fluid flow, a proper dilution of the liquid 176 is achieved for treatment of the Halitosis bacteria as described above.

More specifically, the wand 224 includes a body 226 which is connected at its proximal end 16 to the hose 22. As described above, the hose 22 is in fluid communication with a source of pressurized fluid, such as tap water, from the faucet 106. Fluid from the faucet 106 passes through the hose 22 and, through the coupling 18, into either the tubing 30 or the interior passage 26 of the body 226.

An important feature of the body 226 is that it has an internal reservoir 228 which is preferably enclosed within the body, and is configured to retain a supply of the liquid 176 in concentrated form. The degree of concentration, and of the eventual dilution of the liquid 176 into the flow of pressurized fluid will vary with the application. The reservoir 228 has a relatively narrow diameter nipple or tubular fitting 230 (shown hidden) through which the liquid 176 is drawn into the passage 26 by the flow of pressurized fluid, i.e., by the creation of siphon action. As is known in the art, the ratio of concentrated liquid to pressurized fluid may be adjusted by altering the diameter of the fitting 230.

In the preferred embodiment, the fitting 230 is located at the distal end of the reservoir 228 to promote flow into the passage 26, however other locations are contemplated. Upon exhaustion of the liquid 176, the body 226 may be disposable, or a refill opening (not shown) may be provided. It is also contemplated that the concentrated liquid may be provided in a separate, disposable cartridge, similar in basic configuration to the cartridges of FIGs. 12 and 13, but also being in fluid communication with the pressurized source of fluid. The operation of the wands 10, 160, 184, 204 and 224 is basically the same. Once the respective wand is connected to the source of pressurized liquid 176, the flow control or button member 24 is depressed to conserve the fluid until the tongue scraping action has begun. The user then positions the wand so that the head 34 is generally parallel with the upper surface 220 of the tongue 222 (best seen in FIG. 14).

Upon achieving this position, the user releases the button member 24 so that liquid begins flowing through the flexible tubing 30 and out the openings 42. In the case of the wands 160 and 184, the respective button member 24 and trigger 201 is depressed to initiate pressurized liquid flow. At the same time, the wand 10, 160, 184, 204, 224 is manipulated so that either the tongue scraping formations 51, or in the case of the wand 204, the acoustically energized liquid flow, contact the upper tongue surface 220. The user then reciprocally moves the wand across the tongue surface, which physically dislodges the Halitosis bacteria while the streams of pressurized liquid 176 emitted from the openings 42 flush the bacteria and bacterial by-products from the tongue. In addition, if the liquid 176 is anti-microbial, the bacteria is also killed. The anti- odor rinses described above neutralize the sulfur compounds so that no odors are produced from them. It is an important feature of the present invention that the streams of liquid 176 are emitted in close operational proximity to the tongue scraping formations 51 so that the streams and the formations act together for elimination of most of the Halitosis bacteria. Also, the formations 51 are preferably positioned relative to the openings 42 so that the liquid 176 is retained on the tongue 220 as long as possible and is not directed down the user's throat.

Accordingly, the present clean breath wand system provides apparatus and methodology for more completely removing Halitosis bacteria and bacterial by-products from a user's tongue than was available from prior art devices. The combination of pressurized liquid, which can remove bacteria and bacterial by-products from crevices in the tongue, and the physical disruptive action of tongue scraping formations provides a more effective solution to this long-recognized problem. Further benefits are provided when the liquid utilized with the wand is specifically designed to attack the sulfur causing bacteria which cause Halitosis.

While a particular embodiment of the clean breath wand system of the invention has been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the invention in its broader aspects and as set forth in the following claims.

Claims

1. A clean breath wand (10, 160, 184) for use in removing Halitosis bacteria and bacterial by-products from a user's tongue, characterized by: a body (26) having a distal end (20) and a proximal end (16); a head (34) operatively connected to said body (26); at least one opening (42) in said head (34) configured for being fluidly coupled to a source of liquid and positioned to direct a stream of the liquid upon the tongue; at least one tongue-scraping formation (51, 52, 53, 57) disposed on said head (34) and configured for engaging the bacteria and bacterial by-products on the user's tongue, said at least one tongue-scraping formation being located in operational relationship to said at least one opening (42) so that movement of said at least one scraping formation upon the tongue, in combination with the emission of the liquid under pressure from said at least one opening (42), dislodges the bacteria and bacterial by-products from the tongue.
2. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by means for pressurizing the liquid (174, 197), said means being associated with said body (26).
3. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 2 further characterized by said means for pressurizing the liquid is a manually operated pump (187) having a reservoir (188) and an outlet (200), said outlet being in fluid communication with said head (34).
4. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 3 further characterized by said reservoir (188) being disposable and is removably attachable to said body (26).
5. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by a hose (22) cormectable to said body (26) to be in fluid communication therewith, and also configured for connection to a faucet.
6. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 5 further characterized by a reservoir (228) associated with said body (26) and having an opening (230) in fluid communication with said hose (22) so that water flowing from said faucet draws liquid from said reservoir in siphon fashion so that a water/liquid mixture is emitted from said at least one opening (42).
7. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 6 further characterized by said reservoir (228) being removably attached to said body (26).
8. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by said body (26) being hollow and defining a passageway, said head (34) is fixed to said distal end (20) of said body (26), and said passageway is in fluid communication with said at least one opening (42).
9. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by the user's tongue having an upper surface, and said head (34) is disposed relative to said body (26) and has an outer end face (40) configured so that said end face is generally parallel to the upper surface.
10. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by said head (34) having a proximal end (16) and a distal end (20), and said openings (42) are disposed at least proximally of said at least one scraping formation (51).
11. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by at least one tongue scraping formation (51) depending from said head (34) and is sufficiently rigid to remove bacteria from an upper surface of the user's tongue.
12. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by at least one tongue scraping formation depending from said head (34) and is moved by the liquid emitted through said at least one opening (42).
13. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by a source of Hquid (174) which is engageable with said body (26) and in fluid communication with said head (34).
14. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 13 further characterized by said source of liquid (74) is detachable from said body (26).
15. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 14 further characterized by said source of liquid is a cartridge (186) with a supply of pressurized liquid.
16. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 15 further characterized by a flow control (194) for controlling the flow of liquid from said cartridge (186).
17. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 15 further characterized by said liquid is a rinse designed to chemically target sulfur and other odoriferous molecules which cause Halitosis.
18. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by a flow control (24) for controlling the flow of liquid from said at least one opening (42).
19. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 17 further characterized by said flow control being a valve (24) located on said body (26).
20. The clean breath wand (10) according to claim 1 further characterized by an acoustic transducer (206) connected to said wand to provide acoustic energy to the flow of liquid being emitted under pressure through said at least one opening (42) for facilitating the dislodgment of the bacteria from the tongue.
21. A cartridge (174, 186) for use with a clean breath wand (10, 160, 184) which dislodges Halitosis bacteria from the surface of a user's tongue by a combination of physical disruption and pressurized liquid flushing, the wand characterized by: a body (26) having a distal end (20) and a proximal end (16); a head (34) operatively connected to said body (26) and having an outer end face (40); at least one opening (42) in said head (34) configured for being fluidly coupled to a source of liquid (176) and positioned to direct a stream of the liquid upon the tongue; at least one tongue-scraping formation (51) disposed on said outer end face (40) and configured for engaging the bacteria on the user's tongue, said at least one tongue-scraping formation (51) being located in operational relationship to said at least one opening (42) so that movement of said at least one scraping formation upon the tongue, in combination with the emission of the liquid under pressure from said at least one opening (42), dislodges the bacteria from the tongue; said cartridge (174,186) comprising: a housing (188) dimensioned for containing a supply of the liquid (176); a connector (172, 196) on said housing which is configured for placing said housing in fluid communication with the at least one opening (42) in said head (34); and pressurizing means (174, 197) configured for one of placing and mamtaining the liquid under pressure and maintaining the liquid in a pressurized state.
22. The cartridge according to claim 21 further characterized by said pressurizing means is a manual pump mechanism (197).
23. A method for removing Halitosis bacteria from a surface of a user's tongue, characterized by: disrupting the bacteria through physical contact; and simultaneously flushing the disrupted bacteria from the tongue with a liquid.
24. The method according to claim 23 further characterized by performing said flushing step so that the liquid is prevented from being directed posteriorly toward a user's throat.
25. The method according to claim 23 further characterized by applying acoustic energy to the fluid to facilitate the dislodgement of the bacteria and bacterial by-products from the tongue.
26. The method according to claim 23 further characterized by providing a flow of pressurized water and providing the liquid in a reservoir configured so that the flow of pressurized water draws the liquid using a siphon action.
EP19990932169 1998-07-02 1999-07-02 Clean breath wand system Withdrawn EP1096889A4 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US109637 1993-08-20
US10963798 true 1998-07-02 1998-07-02
PCT/US1999/014990 WO2000001311A9 (en) 1998-07-02 1999-07-02 Clean breath wand system

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP1096889A1 true EP1096889A1 (en) 2001-05-09
EP1096889A4 true true EP1096889A4 (en) 2001-12-19

Family

ID=22328755

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
EP19990932169 Withdrawn EP1096889A4 (en) 1998-07-02 1999-07-02 Clean breath wand system

Country Status (4)

Country Link
EP (1) EP1096889A4 (en)
JP (1) JP2003534025A (en)
CA (1) CA2335857A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2000001311A9 (en)

Families Citing this family (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US8088133B2 (en) * 2005-04-25 2012-01-03 Glaxo Group Limited Tongue cleaning device
WO2010131188A1 (en) * 2009-05-11 2010-11-18 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Aerosol drug delivery apparatus and method

Citations (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3869746A (en) * 1973-10-09 1975-03-11 Man King Law Hydraulic toothbrush
GB1581155A (en) * 1977-05-23 1980-12-10 Molinari Pietro Toothbrush
EP0086987A1 (en) * 1982-02-03 1983-08-31 Paul Hirsch Douche for oral hygiene
US4672953A (en) * 1985-06-06 1987-06-16 Divito Enrico E Oral hygiene apparatus
US5220914A (en) * 1992-10-26 1993-06-22 Thompson Thomas W Plaque dislodging apparatus
US5321865A (en) * 1990-02-09 1994-06-21 Trisa Burstenfabrik Ag Triengen Oral hygiene device
US5503553A (en) * 1995-04-21 1996-04-02 Hines; John E. Oral hygiene device
DE29618012U1 (en) * 1996-10-17 1997-02-20 Alexander Martin Device for cleaning the tongue
US5779654A (en) * 1997-03-26 1998-07-14 Foley; Rita S. Clean breath wand
US6203320B1 (en) * 1998-12-22 2001-03-20 Unilever Home & Personal Care Usa, Division Of Conopco, Inc. Electric toothbrush and method combining bristle and pulsed liquid irrigation cleansing to oral cavity

Family Cites Families (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1983601A (en) * 1931-11-24 1934-12-11 Carl E Conn Mucus surface scraper and medicinal distributor
US4176454A (en) * 1977-04-25 1979-12-04 Biosonics International, Ltd. Ultrasonic tooth cleaner
US4979504A (en) 1986-01-16 1990-12-25 Mills Herbert J Oral irrigator
US4787845A (en) 1987-03-16 1988-11-29 Valentine Rodney F Oral irrigator
US4973250A (en) 1989-03-13 1990-11-27 Milman Anita S Apparatus and method for irrigating and aspirating periodontal pockets
US4958751A (en) 1989-04-14 1990-09-25 Colgate-Palmolive Company Sub-gingival medicament applicator
US5127831A (en) 1991-06-03 1992-07-07 Bab Itai Flexible-end irrigation probe
US5218956A (en) 1991-11-01 1993-06-15 Hydrodent Laboratories, Inc. Hand-held oral irrigating device
DE69323027T2 (en) 1992-08-10 1999-08-12 Novadent Ltd Syringe body for flushing device for oral hygiene
US5569278A (en) 1995-04-03 1996-10-29 Persad; Diane C. Arcuate tongue scraper

Patent Citations (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3869746A (en) * 1973-10-09 1975-03-11 Man King Law Hydraulic toothbrush
GB1581155A (en) * 1977-05-23 1980-12-10 Molinari Pietro Toothbrush
EP0086987A1 (en) * 1982-02-03 1983-08-31 Paul Hirsch Douche for oral hygiene
US4672953A (en) * 1985-06-06 1987-06-16 Divito Enrico E Oral hygiene apparatus
US5321865A (en) * 1990-02-09 1994-06-21 Trisa Burstenfabrik Ag Triengen Oral hygiene device
US5220914A (en) * 1992-10-26 1993-06-22 Thompson Thomas W Plaque dislodging apparatus
US5503553A (en) * 1995-04-21 1996-04-02 Hines; John E. Oral hygiene device
DE29618012U1 (en) * 1996-10-17 1997-02-20 Alexander Martin Device for cleaning the tongue
US5779654A (en) * 1997-03-26 1998-07-14 Foley; Rita S. Clean breath wand
US6203320B1 (en) * 1998-12-22 2001-03-20 Unilever Home & Personal Care Usa, Division Of Conopco, Inc. Electric toothbrush and method combining bristle and pulsed liquid irrigation cleansing to oral cavity

Non-Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
See also references of WO0001311A1 *

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
EP1096889A1 (en) 2001-05-09 application
WO2000001311A9 (en) 2000-05-18 application
WO2000001311A1 (en) 2000-01-13 application
JP2003534025A (en) 2003-11-18 application
CA2335857A1 (en) 2000-01-13 application

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US3452745A (en) Hand-operated pulsating cleaning device
US3593707A (en) Jet tooth brush
US3502072A (en) Water jet tooth cleansing and therapeutic implement
US3608548A (en) Oral hygiene device
US4378804A (en) Facial treatment device
US6820299B2 (en) Dentition cleaning device and system
US7367803B2 (en) Multi user oral cleansing device, DentalJet
US4991570A (en) Vacuum teeth cleaning system and method
US3199510A (en) Hygienic dental device
US3465751A (en) Dental cleaning and gum massaging device
US5934902A (en) Oral cleansing device
US5297962A (en) Dental cleaning device
US5746595A (en) Toothbrush
US4303064A (en) Oral hygiene device
US5579786A (en) Automatic dental flossing device
US5120219A (en) Dental care apparatus
US6835181B2 (en) Oral hygiene apparatuses using faucet water flow to produce spray jet
US6343929B1 (en) Endodontic irrigator tips having fiber covered cannulas and related methods
US5142723A (en) Tooth cleaning apparatus having powered brush and spray
US5817114A (en) Hygienic tongue cleaner
US1278225A (en) Tooth and mouth cleanser.
US6089865A (en) Tongue cleaning device
US5125837A (en) Apparatus and method for therapeutic lavage and scaling of teeth
US5980542A (en) Tongue cleaner
US4106501A (en) Sweeping fluid spray oral hygiene device

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AK Designated contracting states:

Kind code of ref document: A1

Designated state(s): DE FR GB IT

Kind code of ref document: A1

Designated state(s): AT BE CH CY DE DK ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LI LU MC NL PT SE

17P Request for examination filed

Effective date: 20010201

AX Request for extension of the european patent to

Free format text: AL;LT;LV;MK;RO;SI

A4 Despatch of supplementary search report

Effective date: 20011107

AK Designated contracting states:

Kind code of ref document: A4

Designated state(s): AT BE CH CY DE DK ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LI LU MC NL PT SE

RIN1 Inventor (correction)

Inventor name: FOLEY, PATRICK F.

Inventor name: FOLEY, RITA S.

RAP1 Transfer of rights of an ep published application

Owner name: WATER PIK, INC.

17Q First examination report

Effective date: 20020926

RTI1 Title (correction)

Free format text: TONGUE SCRAPING WAND SYSTEM FOR CLEAN BREATH

18D Deemed to be withdrawn

Effective date: 20040810