EP3062656A1 - Oral care implement and oral care system - Google Patents

Oral care implement and oral care system

Info

Publication number
EP3062656A1
EP3062656A1 EP13805653.6A EP13805653A EP3062656A1 EP 3062656 A1 EP3062656 A1 EP 3062656A1 EP 13805653 A EP13805653 A EP 13805653A EP 3062656 A1 EP3062656 A1 EP 3062656A1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
handle
oral care
horizontal surface
hinge
head
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Withdrawn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
EP13805653.6A
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
Scott Beckerman
John C. Crawford
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.)
Colgate Palmolive Co
Original Assignee
Colgate Palmolive Co
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
Application filed by Colgate Palmolive Co filed Critical Colgate Palmolive Co
Priority to PCT/US2013/071211 priority Critical patent/WO2015076807A1/en
Publication of EP3062656A1 publication Critical patent/EP3062656A1/en
Withdrawn legal-status Critical Current

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B5/00Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware
    • A46B5/002Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware having articulations, joints or flexible portions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B15/00Other brushes; Brushes with additional arrangements
    • A46B15/0097Self supporting, e.g. brushes that stand upright or in other particular ways
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B5/00Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware
    • A46B5/02Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware specially shaped for holding by the hand
    • A46B5/021Grips or handles specially adapted to conform to the hand
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B9/00Arrangements of the bristles in the brush body
    • A46B9/02Position or arrangement of bristles in relation to surface of the brush body, e.g. inclined, in rows, in groups
    • A46B9/04Arranged like in or for toothbrushes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B2200/00Brushes characterized by their functions, uses or applications
    • A46B2200/10For human or animal care
    • A46B2200/1066Toothbrush for cleaning the teeth or dentures

Abstract

Disclosed is oral care implement, comprising: a handle connected to a head at an end and an affixion device at the other end via a hinge; the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the surface. Another disclosed oral care implement comprises an affixion device connected to the handle via a bi-stable hinge. Further disclosed is an oral care system, comprising: a first device comprising a handle connected to a head at an end; and a second device comprising an affixion device for affixing the second device to a horizontal surface, a connector detachably connectable to the first device, and a hinge connecting the affixion device to the connector. The head in any of the foregoing configurations comprises at least one oral care element.

Description

ORAL CARE IMPLEMENT AND ORAL CARE SYSTEM

BACKGROUND

[0001] The present invention relates to an oral care implement and to an oral care system.

[0002] It is known to provide dentifrice, such as toothpaste, in a tube having an opening through which the dentifrice is dispensable. In order to dispense the dentifrice from the tube onto the head of an oral care implement, such as a toothbrush, a user has to align the head of the oral care implement with the opening of the tube and squeeze the tube while at the same time holding the oral care implement steady. Carrying out these processes simultaneously can be difficult or impossible for some users, such as children, individuals with disabilities, and others who are challenged by low strength, coordination or motor control in the fingers, hands or arms.

[0003] There is a need for an oral care implement that helps a user dispense dentifrice onto a head of the oral care implement. There is a need for an oral care system that helps a user dispense dentifrice onto a head of an oral care implement.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[0004] An embodiment of the present invention provides a first oral care implement, comprising: a handle; a head at an end of the handle, the head comprising at least one oral care element; and an affixion device connected to the handle via a hinge, wherein the affixion device is for affixing the oral care implement to a horizontal surface; wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.

[0005] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with a longitudinal axis of the handle at a predetermined angle to the horizontal surface.

[0006] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface.

[0007] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface.

[0008] Optionally, when the handle is at the position relative to the affixion device at which the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface, the handle is at a first position relative to the affixion device, and when the handle is at the position relative to the affixion device at which the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface, the handle is at a second position relative to the affixion device, wherein the hinge is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle and the affixion device over only a predetermined finite angle. Further optionally, the predetermined finite angle is between 40 and 140 degrees. Still further optionally, the predetermined finite angle is between 80 and 100 degrees.

[0009] Optionally, the affixion device comprises a suction cup defining a chamber and comprising a rim defining an opening of the chamber, and the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim is affixed to the horizontal surface through the provision of lower pressure inside the chamber than outside the chamber, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.

[0010] Optionally, the head has a first side and a second side opposite the first side, the at least one oral care element is located at the first side of the head, and the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the second side of the head facing the horizontal surface. [0011] Optionally, the handle is freely rotatable relative to the affixion device between the position and another position.

[0012] Optionally, a first force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the position to another position is greater than a second force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the other position to the position.

[0013] Optionally, the hinge is a bi-stable hinge.

[0014] Optionally, the predetermined position is above and away from the horizontal surface.

[0015] Another embodiment of the present invention provides a second oral care implement, comprising: a handle; a head at an end of the handle, the head comprising at least one oral care element; and an affixion device connected to the handle via a bi-stable hinge, wherein the affixion device is for affixing the oral care implement to a horizontal surface.

[0016] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.

[0017] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a first position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with a longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface, and so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a second position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface.

[0018] Optionally, the head has a first side and a second side opposite the first side, the at least one oral care element is located on the first side of the head, and the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the second side of the head facing the horizontal surface.

[0019] Optionally, the predetermined position is above and away from the horizontal surface. [0020] Optionally, in either of the first and second oral care implements, the hinge is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle and the affixion device over only a predetermined finite angle of between 40 and 140 degrees. Further optionally, the predetermined finite angle is between 80 and 100 degrees.

[0021] Optionally, in either of the first and second oral care implements, the handle is unitary with all of the hinge. Alternatively, the hinge may comprise separate components assembled together.

[0022] Optionally, in either of the first and second oral care implements, the handle has a longitudinal axis, the hinge is at a first longitudinal end of the handle, and the head is at a second longitudinal end of the handle.

[0023] Optionally, in either of the first and second oral care implements, a first distance between the hinge and the affixion device is less than 50% of a second distance between the hinge and the head. Further optionally, the first distance is less 25% of the second distance.

[0024] Optionally, in either of the first and second oral care implements, the oral care implement is a toothbrush.

[0025] Optionally, in either of the first and second oral care implements, the affixion device comprises a suction cup. Further optionally, the suction cup defines a chamber and comprises a rim defining an opening of the chamber, and the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim lies fully on the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface. Alternatively or additionally, the affixion device comprises an adhesive pad.

[0026] Another embodiment of the present invention provides an oral care system, comprising: a first device comprising a handle and a head at an end of the handle, the head comprising at least one oral care element; and a second device comprising an affixion device for affixing the second device to a horizontal surface, a connector detachably connectable to the first device, and a hinge connecting the affixion device to the connector.

[0027] Optionally, the handle has a longitudinal axis, the connector is detachably connectable to a first longitudinal end of the handle, and the head is at a second longitudinal end of the handle.

[0028] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.

[0029] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with a longitudinal axis of the handle at a predetermined angle to the horizontal surface.

[0030] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface.

[0031] Optionally, the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface.

[0032] Optionally, the affixion device comprises a suction cup defining a chamber and comprising a rim defining an opening of the chamber, and the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim is affixed to the horizontal surface through the provision of lower pressure inside the chamber than outside the chamber, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.

[0033] Optionally, the head has a first side and a second side opposite the first side, the at least one oral care element is located at the first side of the head, and the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the second side of the head facing the horizontal surface.

[0034] Optionally, the predetermined position is above and away from the horizontal surface. [0035] Optionally, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is freely rotatable relative to the affixion device between the position and another position.

[0036] Optionally, when the connector is connected to the first device, a first force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the position to a second position is greater than a second force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the second position to the position.

[0037] Optionally, the hinge is a bi-stable hinge.

[0038] Optionally, when the connector is connected to the first device, the hinge is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle and the affixion device over only a predetermined finite angle of between 40 and 140 degrees. Further optionally, the predetermined finite angle is between 80 and 100 degrees.

[0039] Optionally, the first device is a toothbrush.

[0040] Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0041] The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0042] Figure 1 shows a side profile view of an oral care implement according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, with a handle thereof at a first position relative to a suction cup thereof;

[0043] Figure 2 shows a side profile view of the oral care implement of Figure 1 with the handle at a second position relative to the suction cup;

[0044] Figure 3 shows a perspective view of the oral care implement of Figure 2;

[0045] Figure 4 shows a side profile view of an oral care implement according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, with a handle thereof at a first position relative to a suction cup thereof;

[0046] Figure 5 shows a side profile view of the oral care implement of Figure 4 with the handle at a second position relative to the suction cup; and

[0047] Figure 6 shows a perspective view of the oral care implement of Figure 5. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0048] The following description of the preferred embodiment(s) is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

[0049] As used throughout, ranges are used as shorthand for describing each and every value that is within the range. Any value within the range can be selected as the terminus of the range. In addition, all references cited herein are hereby incorporated by referenced in their entireties. In the event of a conflict in a definition in the present disclosure and that of a cited reference, the present disclosure controls.

[0050] In the following description, each of the exemplary embodiments of the oral care implement of the invention comprises a manually-operated oral care implement, more specifically a manually-operated toothbrush. However, in variations to these embodiments, the oral care implement could instead comprise a powered toothbrush wherein one or more oral care elements provided to the head of the implement are drivable so as to be moved relative to the handle of the implement. In still further embodiments, the oral care implement could instead comprise other forms of oral care implement, such as a soft-tissue cleaner, a tooth polisher, an interdental brush, a tongue scraper, or another implement designed for oral care. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilised, and that structural and functional modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0051] Figures 1 to 3 illustrate an oral care implement, in this case a toothbrush, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, generally designated with the reference numeral 1. The toothbrush 1 generally comprises a head 180, a handle 150, a hinge 300 and an affixion device 400, comprising a suction cup 400, for affixing the oral care implement 1 to a horizontal surface, each of which is described in more detail below.

[0052] The toothbrush 1 has a body 110 comprising a handle portion 120, a head portion 140 and a neck portion 130 that connects the handle portion 120 to the head portion 140. The head portion 140 is an end portion of the body 110 and is provided with oral care elements 200 for cleaning or polishing surfaces in a user's mouth, such as surfaces of their teeth. In Figures 1 to 3, the oral care elements 200 are illustrated as a simple block for clarity. However, it will be appreciated that, in reality, the oral care elements 200 comprise a plurality of individually identifiable oral care elements. [0053] In this embodiment, the oral care elements comprise a plurality of tooth cleaning elements, preferably a plurality of flexible, nylon bristles arranged in tufts. However, in variations to this embodiment, the oral care elements may additionally or alternatively comprise at least one of any one or more of the following, without limitation: bristles, rigid bristles, flexible bristles, filament bristles, fibre bristles, nylon bristles, spiral bristles, rubber bristles, elastomeric protrusions, elastomeric elements, flexible polymer protrusions, co-extruded filaments, flag bristles, crimped bristles, anti-bacterial bristles and combinations thereof and/or structures containing such materials or combinations.

[0054] The head 180 of the toothbrush 1 comprises the head portion 140 of the body 110, the oral care elements 200, and a resilient material 160, each of which is described in more detail below. The handle 150 of the toothbrush 1 comprises the handle and neck portions 120, 130 of the body 110 and the thumb and rear grips 125, 127 discussed below. In variations in which the thumb and rear grips 125, 127 are omitted and/or additional grips are provided. The toothbrush 1 further has a neck 135 that is part of the handle 150 and comprises the neck portion 130 of the body 110.

[0055] The head portion 140 has a first, proximal end 141 and a second, distal end 142. The proximal and distal ends 141, 142 of the head portion 140 form respective proximal and distal ends 181, 182 of the head 180. The handle portion 120 has a first, proximal end 121 and a second, distal end 122. The neck portion 130 connects the distal end 122 of the handle portion 120 to the proximal end 141 of the head portion 140. The neck portion 130 is generally of a narrower cross sectional area than at least the distal end 122 of the handle portion 120 and, in some embodiments, the neck portion 130 is generally of a narrower cross sectional area than all of the handle portion 120. The neck portion 130 has a first, proximal end 131 and a second, distal end 132. The proximal end 121 of the handle portion 120 and the distal end 132 of the neck portion 130 form respective proximal and distal ends 151, 152 of the handle 150.

[0056] The handle 150 provides the user with a mechanism by which he/she can readily grip and manipulate the toothbrush 1 , includes ergonomic features which provide a high degree of control for the user while maintaining comfort, and may be formed of many different shapes and with a variety of constructions. Generally, the toothbrush 1 extends from a proximal end 101 (which is also the proximal end 121 of the handle portion 120) to a distal end 102 (which is also the distal end 142 of the head portion 140). Also, generally, the handle 150 extends from its proximal end 151 to its distal end 152 along a longitudinal axis A-A. The proximal and distal ends 151, 152 of the handle 150 are also referred to herein as first and second longitudinal ends 151, 152, respectively, of the handle 150. The head 180 is located at the second longitudinal end 152 of the handle 150, while the hinge 300 is at the first longitudinal end 151 of the handle 150, as will be described in more detail below.

[0057] Although the handle 150 is a non- linear structure in the illustrated embodiment, the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 is linear in the illustrated embodiment. However, the invention is not so limited, and in certain embodiments the toothbrush 1 may have a simple linear handle 150 that is longitudinally aligned along the linear longitudinal axis A-A.

[0058] The head portion 140 is connected to the handle portion 120 via the neck portion 130. In this embodiment, the head portion 140, neck portion 130 and handle portion 120 are formed as an integral structure using an injection molding process. The head portion 140, handle portion 120 and neck portion 130 are together a single, unitary structure. That is, the body 110 is a unitary body. However, in other embodiments, the head portion 140 and the neck portion 130 together may be formed as a separate component from the handle portion 120, which separate components are operably connected at a later stage of the manufacturing process by any suitable technique known in the art, including without limitation thermal welding, sonic welding, a tight- fit assembly, a coupling sleeve, adhesion, fasteners, and a snap-fit connection. Whether the head and neck portions 140, 130 and the handle portion 120 are constructed as a single piece or a multi-piece assembly (including connection techniques) is not limiting of the present invention in all embodiments. Furthermore, other manufacturing techniques may be used in place of and/or in addition to injection molding to create the handle portion 120 and/or the head portion 140 (or components thereof) and/or the neck portion 130, such as milling and/or machining and/or additive manufacturing.

[0059] In this embodiment, the body 110 comprising each of the head portion 140, neck portion 130 and handle portion 120 is constructed of polypropylene (PP). However, in variations to this embodiment, the body 110 may instead or additionally be constructed of one or more of the following materials: polyethylene, polyamide, polyester, cellulosics, styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and a thermoplastic. Preferably, the body 110 is of a material that is harder than the resilient material 160. An optional thumb grip 125 is provided on a front side of the handle portion 120, and an optional rear grip 127 is provided on a rear side of the handle portion 120 opposite to the front side of the handle portion 120. The thumb and rear grips 125, 127 are non-unitary with the body 110, and may be formed of any of the materials discussed below for the resilient material 160.

[0060] The head 180 generally comprises a first side 183 and a second side 184 opposite to the first side 183. The first side 183 and the second side 184 of the head 180 can take on a wide variety of shapes and contours, none of which are limiting of the present invention. For example, the first and second sides 183, 184 can be planar, contoured or combinations thereof. The first side 183 and second side 184 are joined by a peripheral or lateral side 146 of the head portion 140, which is a peripheral or lateral side 185 of the head 180. The oral care elements 200 are located at, and extend outward from, the first side 183 of the head 180 for contact with an oral surface, preferably teeth.

[0061] While the oral care elements 200 are particularly suited for cleaning teeth, the oral care elements can be used to clean oral soft tissue, such as a tongue, gums, or cheeks instead of or in addition to teeth. As used herein, the term "oral care element" is used in a generic sense to refer to any structure that can be used to clean, massage or polish an oral surface, such as teeth or soft tissue, through relative surface contact.

[0062] Indeed, in a variation to the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 3, instead of plural tooth cleaning elements 200, there is instead provided one tooth cleaning element, at least one tooth polishing element, or at least one soft tissue cleaning element.

[0063] At the second side 184 of the head 180 is located a soft tissue cleaner 170. In the embodiment of Figures 1 to 3, the soft tissue cleaner 170 comprises the resilient material 160. The resilient material 160 comprises a pad 162 and a plurality of protrusions 164 that are unitary with the pad 162. The pad 162 is attached to the head portion 140 of the body 110 and has a surface. The plurality of protrusions 164 extend from the surface of the pad 162 so that distal ends of the protrusions 164 are spaced from the surface of the pad 162. The resilient material 160 may be an elastomeric material, such as an elastomer, a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), or styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene (SEBS).

[0064] As mentioned above, at the first longitudinal end 151 of the handle 150 there is provided the hinge 300. The hinge 300 comprises first and second relatively-rotatable hinge components 301, 302, and a pin 303. The first and second hinge components 301, 302 have respective holes therethrough. The pin 303 is located in the holes of the first and second hinge components 301, 302, and one or both of the first and second hinge components 301, 302 is rotatable relative to the pin 303. In the illustrated embodiment, the pin 303 is fixed relative to the second hinge component 302, and the first hinge component 301 is rotatable relative to the pin 303 and relative to the second hinge component 302.

[0065] The first hinge component 301 is unitary with, i.e. is integrally formed with, the body 110, whereas the second hinge component 302 is separate from the body 110 and from the first hinge component 301, and is assembled together with the first hinge component 301. Accordingly, the handle 150 is at a first end 301a of the first hinge component 301 and the pin 303 is at a second end 301b of the first hinge component 301.

[0066] The suction cup 400 is connected to the handle 150 via the hinge 300. The suction cup 400 is at a first end 302a of the second hinge component 302 and the pin 303 is at a second end 302b of the second hinge component 302. The handle 150 and the suction cup 400 are separate components assembled together with the hinge 300. It will be appreciated from Figures 1 to 3 that a first distance between the hinge 300 and the suction cup 400 is considerably less than 50% of a second distance between the hinge 300 and the head 180. The first distance is less 25% of the second distance. Indeed, the first distance is less 10%> of the second distance.

[0067] The suction cup 400 is connected to the handle 150 via the hinge 300, whereby the handle 150, together with the head 180, is rotatable relative to the suction cup 400, as can be understood through comparison of Figures 1 and 3. In Figure 1, the handle 150 is at a first position relative to the suction cup 400, whereas in Figures 2 and 3 the handle 150 is at a second position relative to the suction cup 400, which second position is different from the first position.

[0068] The suction cup 400 defines a chamber 402 and comprises a rim 404 defining an opening 403 of the chamber 402. When the rim 404 of the suction cup 400 lies fully on a horizontal surface 5, the rim 404 is horizontal and lies in a horizontal plane. This is the case, for example, when the rim 404 is affixed to the horizontal surface 5 through the provision of a lower pressure inside the chamber 402 than outside the chamber 402. The suction cup 400 preferably is made of a flexible material, and more preferably is made of a resilient material, such as an elastomeric material, an elastomer, a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), or styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene (SEBS). As will be understood by the person skilled in the art, the suction cup 400 allows the toothbrush 1 to be affixed to the horizontal surface 5, at least temporarily. The toothbrush 1 is affixed to the horizontal surface 5 by applying a force to the toothbrush 1 in a direction toward the horizontal surface 5 sufficient to deform the suction cup 400. The deformation forces air out from the chamber 402 through a gap between the suction cup 400 and the surface 5. When the force is removed, there will be a natural tendency for the suction cup 400 to return to its non- deformed state, which results in slight movement of the suction cup 400 relative to the horizontal surface 5, which in turn seals the gap and slightly increases the volume of the chamber 402 to create a partial vacuum therein. This partial vacuum creates a holding force that affixes the suction cup 400, and the rest of the toothbrush 1, to the horizontal surface 5. When a user wishes to detach the toothbrush 1 from the horizontal surface 5, they need only apply a force to the toothbrush 1 in a direction away from the horizontal surface 5 sufficient to overcome the holding force. This would result in at least a portion of the rim 404 being lifted from the horizontal surface 5, which removes the partial vacuum in the chamber 402 and thus removes the holding force, so that the toothbrush 1 can be moved away from the horizontal surface 5 without further hindrance.

[0069] When the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the first position relative to the suction cup 400, the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 is substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface 5 and to the horizontal plane, as shown in Figure 1. On the other hand, when the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the second position relative to the suction cup 400, the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 is substantially parallel to the horizontal surface 5 and to the horizontal plane, and the second side 184 of the head 180 faces the horizontal surface 5, as shown in Figures 2 and 3.

[0070] The hinge 300 is specifically configured so that, when the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the first position relative to the suction cup 400, the hinge 300 stably supports the head 180 at a first predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface 5, which is above and away from the horizontal surface 5 and from the horizontal plane with the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 at a first predetermined angle to the horizontal surface 5. The hinge 300 also is specifically configured so that, when the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the second position relative to the suction cup 400, the hinge 300 stably supports the head 180 at a second predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface 5, which is above and away from the horizontal surface 5 and from the horizontal plane with the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 at a second predetermined angle to the horizontal surface 5. More specifically, when the handle 150 is at the first position relative to the suction cup 400, the predetermined angle is approximately 90 degrees to the horizontal surface 5, and when the handle 150 is at the second position relative to the suction cup 400, the predetermined angle is approximately zero degrees to the horizontal surface 5.

[0071] While alternative configurations of the hinge 300 to provide the stable support of the head 180 specifically by the hinge 300 will be apparent to the person skilled in the art, the stable support of the head 180 specifically by the hinge 300 may be achieved through the shape of components of the hinge 300.

[0072] The configuration of the hinge 300 of the illustrated embodiment is such that the handle 150 and the suction cup 400 are in a more stable relative state, and the toothbrush 1 as a whole is in a more stable state, when the handle 150 is at either of the first and second positions relative to the suction cup 400, as compared to when the handle 150 is at another position relative to the suction cup 400.

[0073] More specifically, the first hinge component 301 includes first and second stops 301c, 30 Id, and the second hinge component 302 includes first and second stops 302c, 302d. When the handle 150 is at the first position relative to the suction cup 400, the first stops 301c, 302c of the first and second hinge components 301, 302 contact each other to prevent movement of the handle 150 from the first position in a direction away from the second position. Similarly, when the handle 150 is at the second position relative to the suction cup 400, the second stops 30 Id, 302d of the first and second hinge components 301, 302 contact each other to prevent movement of the handle 150 from the second position in a direction away from the first position.

[0074] The first and second relatively-rotatable hinge components 301, 302 are configured through their relative dimensions to permit relative rotation of the handle 150 and the suction cup 400 over only a predetermined finite angle of approximately 90 degrees, between the first and second positions. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the predetermined finite angle may be between 40 and 140 degrees, or between 80 and 100 degrees, and the relative arrangement of the stops 301c, 30 Id, 302c, 302d is adjusted accordingly.

[0075] In some embodiments, although not visible in the Figures, the pin 303 may be of circular cross-sectional shape in a radial plane, while the shape of the hole in the first hinge component 301 is non-circular. In such embodiments, the shape of the hole in the first hinge component 301 is such that, while the handle 150 is freely rotatable relative to the suction cup 400 between the first and second positions, and ignoring the influence of gravity, a first force required to rotate the handle 150 and the first hinge component 301 relative to the pin 303, second hinge component 302 and suction cup 400 from the first position to a third position, between the first and second positions, is greater than a second force required to rotate the handle 150 and the first hinge component 301 relative to the pin 303, second hinge component 302 and suction cup 400 from the third position to the first position. In some such embodiments, the shape of the hole in the first hinge component 301 is such that, ignoring the influence of gravity, a third force required to rotate the handle 150 and the first hinge component 301 relative to the pin 303, second hinge component 302 and suction cup 400 from the second position to the third position is greater than a fourth force required to rotate the handle 150 and the first hinge component 301 relative to the pin 303, second hinge component 302 and suction cup 400 from the third position to the second position.

[0076] The construction of the illustrated embodiment is in contrast to a (not illustrated) comparative oral care implement in which, while the implement comprises a handle with a suction cup connected to a first longitudinal end of the handle via a hinge, the handle and the suction cup are not in a more stable relative state, and the implement as a whole is not in a more stable state, when the handle is at a particular position relative to the suction cup, as compared to when the handle is at another position relative to the suction cup. In such as comparative example, the hinge is not considered to be configured to stably support a head of the implement, at a second longitudinal end of the handle, at a predetermined position relative to a horizontal surface, such as above and away from the horizontal surface, on which a rim of the suction cup lies fully, when a longitudinal axis of the handle is at a particular angle, such as orthogonal, to the horizontal surface. In such a comparative example, a slight knock to the implement when in such a configuration would more easily result in the handle, and thus the head, moving from that configuration through operation of the hinge, as compared to the illustrated embodiment of the invention when in the state shown in Figure 1.

[0077] The oral care toothbrush 1 of the illustrated embodiment helps a user dispense dentifrice onto the head 180 of the toothbrush 1. When the toothbrush 1 of the illustrated embodiment is in the state shown in Figure 1, the toothbrush 1 takes up minimal space on the horizontal surface 5, which may be the surface of a bathroom counter, and is in a substantially stable position on the counter. The toothbrush 1 is in a yet more stable position on the counter when the rim 404 is affixed to the horizontal surface 5 through the provision of a lower pressure inside the chamber 402 than outside the chamber 402, as discussed above. The suction cup 400 can be positioned on the surface 5 at a position relative to a sink such that, when the handle 150 is rotated relative to the suction cup 400 by operation of the hinge 300, the head 180 is over the sink and the toothbrush 1 still is held off the counter in a substantially stable position. The user can then focus on aligning the opening of a dentifrice tube with the head 180 and subsequently dispensing the dentifrice from the tube onto the head 180, without simultaneously having to hold the toothbrush 1 steady. Any excess dentifrice can be allowed to fall into the sink, from where it can easily be cleaned up. Once a desired volume of the dentifrice has been dispensed, the toothbrush 1 easily can be pulled away from the surface 5, against the holding force that affixes the suction cup 400, and the rest of the toothbrush 1, to the horizontal surface 5, for use in an oral care session.

[0078] Figures 4 to 6 show an oral care implement 2 according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Like reference numerals used in Figures 1 to 3 and Figures 4 to 6 indicate like components.

[0079] The oral care implement 2 of this embodiment is the same as the oral care implement 1 shown in Figures 1 to 3, except for the construction of the hinge 500, as compared to the hinge 300 of the oral care implement 1. The oral care implement 2 may be varied as per the above- described possible variations to the oral care implement 1.

[0080] Similarly to the oral care implement 1 of Figures 1 to 3, the oral care implement 2 of Figures 4 to 6 is a toothbrush generally comprising a head 180, a handle 150, a hinge 500 and a an affixion device 400, comprising a suction cup 400, for affixing the oral care implement 2 to a horizontal surface. Each of the head 180, the handle 150 and the suction cup 400 of the oral care implement 2 of Figures 4 to 6 is the same as the head 180, the handle 150 and the suction cup 400 of the oral care implement 1 of Figures 1 to 3, and so these components of the oral care implement 2 will not be described in any detail for the sake of conciseness.

[0081] In contrast to the hinge 300 of the oral care implement 1 of Figures 1 to 3, the hinge 500 of the oral care toothbrush 2 of Figures 4 to 6 is a bi-stable hinge 500. The hinge 500 is provided at the first longitudinal end 151 of the handle 150. All of the hinge 500 is unitary with, i.e. is integrally formed with, the body 110 of the implement 1. The handle 150 is at a first end 501 of the hinge 500 and the suction cup 400 is at a second end 502 of the hinge 500. Accordingly, the suction cup 400 is connected to the handle 150 via the hinge 500. The suction cup 400 is a separate component to the combination of the body 110 and hinge 500. It will be appreciated from Figures 4 to 6 that a first distance between the hinge 500 and the suction cup 400 is considerably less than 50% of a second distance between the hinge 500 and the head 180. The first distance is less 25% of the second distance. Indeed, the first distance is less 10%> of the second distance.

[0082] The suction cup 400 is connected to the handle 150 via the hinge 500, whereby the handle 150, together with the head 180, is rotatable relative to the suction cup 400, as can be understood through comparison of Figures 4 and 6. In Figure 4, the handle 150 is at a first position relative to the suction cup 400, whereas in Figures 5 and 6 the handle 150 is at a second position relative to the suction cup 400, which second position is different from the first position.

[0083] The hinge 500 is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle 150 and the suction cup 400 over only a predetermined finite angle of approximately 90 degrees, between the first and second positions. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the predetermined finite angle may be between 40 and 140 degrees, or between 80 and 100 degrees.

[0084] When the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the first position relative to the suction cup 400, the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 is substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface 5 and to the horizontal plane, as shown in Figure 4. On the other hand, when the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the second position relative to the suction cup 400, the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 is substantially parallel to the horizontal surface 5 and to the horizontal plane, and the second side 184 of the head 180 faces the horizontal surface 5, as shown in Figures 5 and 6.

[0085] The hinge 500 is specifically configured so that, when the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the first position relative to the suction cup 400, the hinge 500 stably supports the head 180 at a first predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface 5, which is above and away from the horizontal surface 5 and from the horizontal plane with the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 at a first predetermined angle to the horizontal surface 5. The hinge 500 also is specifically configured so that, when the rim 404 lies fully on the horizontal surface 5 and the handle 150 is at the second position relative to the suction cup 400, the hinge 500 stably supports the head 180 at a second predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface 5, which is above and away from the horizontal surface 5 and from the horizontal plane with the longitudinal axis A-A of the handle 150 at a second predetermined angle to the horizontal surface 5. More specifically, when the handle 150 is at the first position relative to the suction cup 400, the predetermined angle is approximately 90 degrees to the horizontal surface 5, and when the handle 150 is at the second position relative to the suction cup 400, the predetermined angle is approximately zero degrees to the horizontal surface 5.

[0086] The stable support of the head 180 specifically by the hinge 500 is achieved through the bi-stable nature of the hinge 500. The configuration of the hinge 500 of the illustrated embodiment is such that the handle 150 and the suction cup 400 are in a more stable relative state, and the toothbrush 2 as a whole is in a more stable state, when the handle 150 is at either of the first and second positions relative to the suction cup 400, as compared to when the handle 150 is at another position relative to the suction cup 400.

[0087] While the handle 150 is freely rotatable relative to the suction cup 400 between the first and second positions, and ignoring the influence of gravity, a first force required to rotate the handle 150 relative to the suction cup 400 from the first position to a third position, between the first and second positions, is greater than a second force required to rotate the handle 150 relative to the suction cup 400 from the third position to the first position. Similarly, ignoring the influence of gravity, a third force required to rotate the handle 150 relative to the suction cup 400 from the second position to the third position is greater than a fourth force required to rotate the handle 150 relative to the suction cup 400 from the third position to the second position.

[0088] The construction of the illustrated embodiment is in contrast to a (not illustrated) comparative oral care implement in which, while the implement comprises a handle with a suction cup connected to a first longitudinal end of the handle via a hinge, the handle and the suction cup are not in a more stable relative state, and the implement as a whole is not in a more stable state, when the handle is at a particular position relative to the suction cup, as compared to when the handle is at another position relative to the suction cup. In such as comparative example, the hinge is not considered to be configured to stably support a head of the implement, at a second longitudinal end of the handle, at a predetermined position relative to a horizontal surface, such as above and away from the a horizontal surface on which a rim of the suction cup lies fully, when a longitudinal axis of the handle is at a particular angle, such as orthogonal, to the horizontal surface. In such a comparative example, a slight knock to the implement when in such a configuration would more easily result in the handle, and thus the head, moving from that configuration through operation of the hinge, as compared to the illustrated embodiment of the invention when in the state shown in Figure 4.

[0089] Similarly to the oral care implement 1 of Figures 1 to 3, the oral care implement 2 of Figures 4 to 6 helps a user dispense dentifrice onto the head 180 of the toothbrush 2. When the toothbrush 2 of the illustrated embodiment is in the state shown in Figure 4, the toothbrush 2 takes up minimal space on the horizontal surface 5, which may be the surface of a bathroom counter, and is in a substantially stable position on the counter. The toothbrush 2 is in a yet more stable position on the counter when the rim 404 is affixed to the horizontal surface 5 through the provision of a lower pressure inside the chamber 402 than outside the chamber 402, as discussed above. The suction cup 400 can be positioned on the surface 5 at a position relative to a sink such that, when the handle 150 is rotated relative to the suction cup 400 by operation of the hinge 500, the head 180 is over the sink and the toothbrush 2 still is held off the counter in a substantially stable position. The user can then focus on aligning the opening of a dentifrice tube with the head 180 and subsequently dispensing the dentifrice from the tube onto the head 180, without simultaneously having to hold the toothbrush 2 steady. Any excess dentifrice can be allowed to fall into the sink, from where it can easily be cleaned up. Once a desired volume of the dentifrice has been dispensed, the toothbrush 2 easily can be pulled away from the surface 5, against the holding force that affixes the suction cup 400, and the rest of the toothbrush 2, to the horizontal surface 5, for use in an oral care session.

[0090] While in each of the above-described embodiments the affixion device comprises a suction cup, in respective variations to each of the embodiments the affixion device may comprise an alternative device for affixing the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, preferably repeatedly, such as an adhesive pad, e.g. a pad with adhesive applied thereon. A removable layer or film of material may cover the adhesive on the pad to protect the adhesive prior to use.

[0091] In each of the embodiments shown in Figures 1 to 3 and Figures 4 to 6, the suction cup 400 and the hinge 300, 500 are non-detachably connected to the handle 150. In variations to these embodiments, and in accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided an oral care system comprising first and second devices. The first device comprises a handle and a head at an end of the handle, and may be a manually-operated oral care implement, such as a manually-operated toothbrush, or a powered oral care implement, such as a powered toothbrush. The second device comprises an affixion device, such as a suction cup, a connector detachably connectable to the first device, and a hinge connecting the affixion device to the connector.

[0092] The handle and head of the first device may be the same as the handle 150 and head 180 of the two illustrated oral care implements 1, 2. Moreover, the suction cup may be the same as the suction cup 400 of the two illustrated oral care implements 1, 2. Furthermore, the hinge may by the same as either of the hinges 300, 500 of the two illustrated oral care implements 1, 2, except that the hinge of the second device is not non-detachably connected to the handle 150. The connector of the second device may be detachably connectable to any part of the handle 150, but preferably the connector of the second device is detachably connectable to the first longitudinal end 151 of the handle 150.

[0093] In one embodiment of such an oral care system, the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim lies fully on a horizontal surface, for example when the rim of the suction cup is affixed to the horizontal surface through the provision of a lower pressure inside the chamber of the suction cup than outside the chamber, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface, such as above and away from the horizontal surface. In some embodiments, the hinge is a bi-stable hinge like the hinge 500 of the oral care implement 2 of Figures 4 to 6. In other embodiments, the hinge is of the form described with reference to Figures 1 to 3, except that the first hinge component is unitary with, i.e. is integrally formed with, the connector, whereas the second hinge component is separate from the connector, is assembled together with the first hinge component, and connects the suction cup to the first hinge component.

[0094] In some embodiments of such an oral care system, the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim lies fully on the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface, such as above and away from the horizontal surface, with a longitudinal axis of the handle at a predetermined angle to the horizontal surface. For example, the hinge may be configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a first position at which, when the rim lies fully on the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface, such as above and away from the horizontal surface, with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface. The hinge may alternatively or additionally be configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a second position at which, when the rim lies fully on the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface, such as above and away from the horizontal surface, with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface and the second side of the head facing the horizontal surface. In some embodiments, the hinge is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle and the suction cup over only a predetermined finite angle, e.g. between such first and second positions. The predetermined finite angle may be between 40 and 140 degrees, between 80 and 100 degrees, or approximately 90 degrees.

[0095] In some embodiments of such an oral care system, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is freely rotatable relative to the suction cup between a first position and a second position, such as the first and second positions discussed in the preceding paragraph. In some such embodiments, when ignoring the influence of gravity and when the connector is connected to the first device, a first force required to rotate the handle relative to the suction cup from the first position to a third position, between the first and second positions, is greater than a second force required to rotate the handle relative to the suction cup from the third position to the first position. Similarly, when ignoring the influence of gravity and when the connector is connected to the first device, a third force required to rotate the handle relative to the suction cup from the second position to the third position is greater than a fourth force required to rotate the handle relative to the suction cup from the third position to the second position.

[0096] Such oral care systems are usable to help a user dispense dentifrice onto the head of the first device, in much the same way as the oral care implements of Figures 1 to 6. The rim of the suction cup may remain affixed to a horizontal surface, which may be the surface of a bathroom counter, through the provision of a lower pressure inside the chamber than outside the chamber, during periods of non-use of the system. Moreover, during periods of non-use of the system, the connector of the second device may either remain connected to the first device, or the first and second devices may remain unconnected. In either case, when it is desired to use the system, it is ensured that the connector is connected to the first device. The handle is then rotated relative to the suction cup by operation of the hinge, e.g. to place the handle with the longitudinal axis of the handle parallel to the horizontal surface. The user can then focus on aligning the opening of a dentifrice tube with the head and subsequently dispensing the dentifrice from the tube onto the head, without simultaneously having to hold the first device steady. Once a desired volume of the dentifrice has been dispensed, the first device can be disconnected from the second device, by disconnecting the connector from the first device, for use in an oral care session.

[0097] While in each of the above-described embodiments the affixion device comprises a suction cup, in respective variations to each of the embodiments the affixion device may comprise an alternative device for affixing the second device to a horizontal surface, preferably repeatedly, such as an adhesive pad, e.g. a pad with adhesive applied thereon. A removable layer or film of material may cover the adhesive on the pad to protect the adhesive prior to use.

[0098] In variations to each of the described specific embodiments, the suction cup may take a different form to that described, preferably so long as the suction cup defines a chamber and comprises a rim defining an opening of the chamber.

Claims

CLAIMS WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. An oral care implement, comprising:
a handle;
a head at an end of the handle, the head comprising at least one oral care element; and an affixion device connected to the handle via a hinge, wherein the affixion device is for affixing the oral care implement to a horizontal surface;
wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.
2. The oral care implement of claim 1, wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with a longitudinal axis of the handle at a predetermined angle to the horizontal surface.
3. The oral care implement of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface.
4. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface.
5. The oral care implement of claim 4, when dependent on claim 3, wherein
when the handle is at the position relative to the affixion device at which the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface, the handle is at a first position relative to the affixion device, and
when the handle is at the position relative to the affixion device at which the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface, the handle is at a second position relative to the affixion device,
wherein the hinge is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle and the affixion device over only a predetermined finite angle,
optionally wherein the predetermined finite angle is between 40 and 140 degrees, further optionally wherein the predetermined finite angle is between 80 and 100 degrees.
6. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the affixion device comprises a suction cup defining a chamber and comprising a rim defining an opening of the chamber, and wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim is affixed to the horizontal surface through the provision of lower pressure inside the chamber than outside the chamber, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.
7. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the head has a first side and a second side opposite the first side,
wherein the at least one oral care element is located at the first side of the head, and wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the second side of the head facing the horizontal surface.
8. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the handle is freely rotatable relative to the affixion device between the position and another position.
9. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein a first force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the position to another position is greater than a second force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the other position to the position.
10. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the hinge is a bi-stable hinge.
11. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the predetermined position is above and away from the horizontal surface.
12. An oral care implement, comprising:
a handle;
a head at an end of the handle, the head comprising at least one oral care element; and an affixion device connected to the handle via a bi-stable hinge, wherein the affixion device is for affixing the oral care implement to a horizontal surface.
13. The oral care implement of claim 12, wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.
14. The oral care implement of claim 13, wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a first position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with a longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface, and so that the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a second position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface.
15. The oral care implement of any one of claims 12 to 14, wherein the head has a first side and a second side opposite the first side,
wherein the at least one oral care element is located on the first side of the head, and wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the second side of the head facing the horizontal surface.
16. The oral care implement of any one of claims 13 to 15, wherein the predetermined position is above and away from the horizontal surface.
17. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the hinge is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle and the affixion device over only a predetermined finite angle of between 40 and 140 degrees, optionally wherein the predetermined finite angle is between 80 and 100 degrees.
18. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the handle is unitary with all of the hinge.
19. The oral care implement of any one of claims 1 to 17, wherein the hinge comprises separate components assembled together.
20. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the handle has a longitudinal axis, the hinge is at a first longitudinal end of the handle, and the head is at a second longitudinal end of the handle.
21. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein a first distance between the hinge and the affixion device is less than 50% of a second distance between the hinge and the head, optionally wherein the first distance is less 25% of the second distance.
22. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the oral care implement is a toothbrush.
23. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the affixion device comprises a suction cup.
24. The oral care implement of claim 23, wherein the suction cup defines a chamber and comprises a rim defining an opening of the chamber, and wherein the hinge is configured so that the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim lies fully on the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.
25. An oral care system, comprising:
a first device comprising a handle and a head at an end of the handle, the head comprising at least one oral care element; and
a second device comprising an affixion device for affixing the second device to a horizontal surface, a connector detachably connectable to the first device, and a hinge connecting the affixion device to the connector.
26. The oral care system of claim 25, wherein the handle has a longitudinal axis, the connector is detachably connectable to a first longitudinal end of the handle, and the head is at a second longitudinal end of the handle.
27. The oral care system of claim 25 or claim 26, wherein the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to a horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.
28. The oral care system of claim 27, wherein the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with a longitudinal axis of the handle at a predetermined angle to the horizontal surface.
29. The oral care system of claim 28, wherein the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially orthogonal to the horizontal surface.
30. The oral care implement of claim 28 or claim 29, wherein the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the longitudinal axis of the handle substantially parallel to the horizontal surface.
31. The oral care system of any one of claims 25 to 30, wherein the affixion device comprises a suction cup defining a chamber and comprising a rim defining an opening of the chamber, and wherein the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the suction cup to a position at which, when the rim is affixed to the horizontal surface through the provision of lower pressure inside the chamber than outside the chamber, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface.
32. The oral care system of any one of claims 25 to 31 , wherein the head has a first side and a second side opposite the first side,
wherein the at least one oral care element is located at the first side of the head, and wherein the hinge is configured so that, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is rotatable relative to the affixion device to a position at which, when the affixion device affixes the oral care implement to the horizontal surface, the hinge stably supports the head at a predetermined position relative to the horizontal surface with the second side of the head facing the horizontal surface.
33. The oral care system of any one of claims 27 to 32, wherein the predetermined position is above and away from the horizontal surface.
34. The oral care system of any one of claims 27 to 33 wherein, when the connector is connected to the first device, the handle is freely rotatable relative to the affixion device between the position and another position.
35. The oral care system of any one of claims 27 to 34 wherein, when the connector is connected to the first device, a first force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the position to a second position is greater than a second force required to rotate the handle relative to the affixion device from the second position to the position.
36. The oral care system of any one of claims 25 to 35, wherein the hinge is a bi-stable hinge.
37. The oral care system of any one of claims 25 to 36 wherein, when the connector is connected to the first device, the hinge is configured to permit relative rotation of the handle and the affixion device over only a predetermined finite angle of between 40 and 140 degrees, optionally wherein the predetermined finite angle is between 80 and 100 degrees.
38. The oral care system of any one of claims 25 to 37, wherein the first device is a toothbrush.
EP13805653.6A 2013-11-21 2013-11-21 Oral care implement and oral care system Withdrawn EP3062656A1 (en)

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EP (1) EP3062656A1 (en)
CN (1) CN105722427A (en)
AR (1) AR098512A1 (en)
AU (1) AU2013405930A1 (en)
MX (1) MX2016006148A (en)
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CN203106174U (en) * 2012-12-28 2013-08-07 赵雯 Toothbrush
CN203041159U (en) * 2013-01-29 2013-07-10 殷翔 Toothbrush capable of being placed in multiple directions

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WO2015076807A1 (en) 2015-05-28
AR098512A1 (en) 2016-06-01
MX2016006148A (en) 2016-08-12
CN105722427A (en) 2016-06-29
AU2013405930A1 (en) 2016-05-12
TW201521634A (en) 2015-06-16
US20160296003A1 (en) 2016-10-13
ZA201601795B (en) 2018-11-28

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