US20100071144A1 - Folding toothbrush - Google Patents

Folding toothbrush Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100071144A1
US20100071144A1 US12/238,222 US23822208A US2010071144A1 US 20100071144 A1 US20100071144 A1 US 20100071144A1 US 23822208 A US23822208 A US 23822208A US 2010071144 A1 US2010071144 A1 US 2010071144A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
slot
toothbrush
piece
section
pivot
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Abandoned
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US12/238,222
Inventor
Puneet Nanda
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Dr Fresh Inc
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Dr Fresh Inc
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Publication date
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Priority to US12/238,222 priority Critical patent/US20100071144A1/en
Assigned to DR. FRESH, INC. reassignment DR. FRESH, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: NANDA, PUNEET
Publication of US20100071144A1 publication Critical patent/US20100071144A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B7/00Bristle carriers arranged in the brush body
    • A46B7/02Bristle carriers arranged in the brush body in an expanding or articulating manner
    • A46B7/023Bristle carriers arranged in the brush body in an expanding or articulating manner where the bristle carrier retracts or collapses, i.e. for storage
    • A46B7/026Bristle carriers arranged in the brush body in an expanding or articulating manner where the bristle carrier retracts or collapses, i.e. for storage where the bristle carrier collapses
    • 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

A toothbrush with a folding two-piece handle, the pivot designed to rotate the brush of the handle in relationship to rest of the handle, the pivot also designed to slide into a slot to lock the handle into the open upright position. The handle having a secondary slot and corresponding protrusion to further secure the handle in place.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present inventions relate to dental hygiene and, more particularly, to toothbrushes.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • To ensure proper oral care, dentists recommend that we brush our teeth more than once a day for at least two to three minutes each time. Despite this recommendation, the average adult person does not brush his or her teeth sufficiently. This problem is worse with children, who have notoriously short attention spans and often view brushing their teeth as a chore.
  • Additionally there are times, such as when travelling or on vacation, where some people find brushing their teeth to be even more difficult. This difficulty can arise because of the inconvenience of having to carry a normal, full sized toothbrush or the fear of getting the toothbrush dirty as it is placed together with other toiletry articles in a bag or suitcase. Accordingly, there is a general need for a device that encourages people, especially children, to brush their teeth more often and for longer periods of time whether at home or while traveling.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A folding toothbrush having an open position and a closed position, the toothbrush can comprise a two-piece handle, a pivot or a pair of pivots, and a first slot or a pair of first slots. The second piece of the two-piece handle can be configured to be received by the first piece in the closed position. The pivot or pivots can be in a corresponding first slot or slots and can be configured to both rotate and slide within the first slot. The second piece can comprise a head and at least one bristle. The toothbrush can further comprise a second slot and a protrusion that can be configured to substantially conform within the second slot when in the open position.
  • In other embodiments the toothbrush can comprise a first slot with a rotating section and a locking section. The toothbrush can also comprise a third slot where at least one side of the protrusion be can configured to substantially conform within the third slot when in the closed position.
  • According to other embodiments, a folding toothbrush having an open position and a closed position can comprise a two-piece handle, where the second piece can be configured to be received by the first piece in the closed position, and the second piece can comprise a head and at least one bristle. The toothbrush can further comprise a pair of semicircular pivots and a pair of first slots corresponding to the pair of semicircular pivots. Each pivot can be in the corresponding first slot and can be configured to both rotate and slide within the first slot. In addition, each of the pair of first slots can have a semicircular region and an elongated region. The toothbrush can further comprise a pair of protrusions, and a pair of second slots corresponding to the pair of protrusions. Each protrusion can be configured to substantially conform within the corresponding second slot when in the open position. The toothbrush can further comprise a pair of third slots that can also correspond to the pair of protrusions. Each protrusion can be configured to fit within the corresponding third slot when in the closed position.
  • Another embodiment comprises a method of operating a folding toothbrush. The method can comprise providing the folding toothbrush, and opening the folding toothbrush from a closed position. The step of opening the folding toothbrush can comprise rotating a second section of the toothbrush in relation to a first section at a pivot, sliding the second section in relation to the first section, wherein the pivot can slide into a first securing slot and sliding a protrusion into a second securing slot. The method can further comprise using the toothbrush to brush at least one tooth.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention are described with reference to drawings of certain preferred embodiments which are intended to illustrate, but not to limit, the present invention.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a folding toothbrush according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1 showing the toothbrush in the closed position.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a part of the toothbrush of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of the part of the toothbrush of FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an additional part of the toothbrush of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 6 is a side view of the toothbrush of FIG. 1 showing the change from the closed position to the open position.
  • FIG. 7A shows a detail view of part of the toothbrush of FIG. 1 in the closed position.
  • FIG. 7B shows a detail view of one position of part of the toothbrush of FIG. 1 as the toothbrush moves from the closed position to the open position.
  • FIG. 7C shows a detail view of another position of part of the toothbrush of FIG. 1 as the toothbrush moves from the closed position to the open position.
  • FIG. 7D shows a detail view of part of the toothbrush of FIG. 1 in the open position.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a folding toothbrush. The toothbrush 2 can comprise a two-piece handle 10, a pivot 16 and a slot 26. The two-piece handle can comprise a first piece 12, and a second piece 14. The second piece 14 of the handle can comprise a brush 18. The brush 18 can comprise a head 20 and bristles 22.
  • As shown, the toothbrush 2 can have a pocket knife like design with an open position (FIG. 1) and a closed position (FIG. 2). In the open position, the second piece 14 of the handle can be in an extended position such that the head 20 of the second piece 14 can be extended to a position away from the first piece 12 of the handle. In the closed position, the second piece 14 of the handle can be in an unextended position such that the head 20 of the second piece 14 can be in close proximity to the first piece 12. This can be similar to the relationship between the handle of a pocket knife and a blade or other tool when the pocket knife is in an open or closed position. The opening and closing of the toothbrush 2 is described in more detail below.
  • A folding toothbrush, as illustrated, can be useful for travel or vacations. Additionally, the folding toothbrush shown can be compact to facilitate use of carrying without sacrificing easy of use or usability. A folding toothbrush can protect the head and bristles from contacting other items, thus maintaining cleanliness and sanitation.
  • The toothbrush 2 can further comprise a receiving area 24. The receiving area 24 can be shaped so as to receive the brush 18 (FIG. 2). In other embodiments, the second piece 14 of the handle can be substantially received within the first piece 12 at receiving area 24, while in other embodiments the second piece 14, including the brush 18, can be only partially or minimally received within the first piece 12. In still other embodiments the second piece 14 is not received within the first piece 12 at all. Preferably the second piece 14 is not completely received into the first piece 12 at receiving portion 24 so that a user can more easily manipulate the toothbrush 2 between the open and closed positions, as in FIG. 2.
  • The receiving area 24 can comprise, for example, a recess, hole or cavity in the first piece 12 of the handle. The receiving area 24 can be contoured to closely reflect the shape of the second piece 14 of the handle or the portions of second piece 14 that are received into the receiving area 24. The receiving area 24 can also be shaped in a way independent of the shape of the second piece 14 while still accepting the second piece 14 or the portions of second piece 14 that are to be received therein according to the particular design used.
  • Returning to the toothbrush 2 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, to move the toothbrush 2 between the open and closed positions, the toothbrush 2 can rotate around pivot 16. The pivot 16 can be within a slot 26. In one embodiment, the pivot 16 can be a protrusion on the second piece 14 and the slot 26 can comprise a part of the first piece 12 of the handle. In other embodiments, the second piece 14 can further comprise the pivot 16 and the handle 12 can further comprise the slot 26.
  • Turning now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the second piece 14 of the handle will be discussed. As illustrated, the second piece 14 of the handle comprises a brush 18, a pivot 16, a raised portion 34, and a protrusion 28. The brush 18 can further comprise a head 20 and a bristle 22. As depicted in the figures, both sides of the second piece 14 of the handle are mirror images of one another. According to some embodiments, the pivot 16 can be on only one side of the second piece 14. According to some further embodiments, the protrusion 28 can be on only one side of the second piece 14.
  • As shown, the protrusion 28 is in the shape of a rectangle that protrudes from the side of the second piece 14. According to other embodiments, the protrusion 28 can be in the form of a shape other than a rectangle.
  • The pivot 16 is shown on the raised portion 34. The raised portion 34 is optional and can provide extra space or a gap between the first piece 12 and the second piece 14 to reduce the friction when moving from the closed position to the open position or vice versa. The raised portion 34 can be a circular protrusion on the side of the second piece 14 of the handle. When the toothbrush 2 is assembled, the raised portion 34 can contact the first piece 12 so that a gap can form between the first 12 and second 14 pieces, at least around the areas surrounding the raised portion 34.
  • The pivot 16 can reside on the raised portion 34. The pivot 16 can be in the shape of a semicircle that is protruded from the side of the second piece 14. According to some embodiments, the pivot 16 can be mostly or substantially semicircular. According to some embodiments the pivot 16 can be a shape that is slightly more or less of a circle than semicircular.
  • FIG. 5 shows a cross-section of the first piece 12 of the handle. In the illustrated embodiment, the first piece 12 comprises a first slot 26, a second slot 30, a third slot 32 and a receiving area 24. The first slot 26 can comprise a rotating section 34 and locking section 36. The rotating section 34 can be generally circular as depicted. The locking section 36 can be generally a trapezoid, rectangle or parallelogram in shape. The rotating section 34 and locking section 36 can also be other shapes.
  • The shape of the first slot 26 can also be understood with reference to the following description. The first slot 26 can be shaped like a lowercase letter “b” which, as depicted in FIG. 5, has been laid on its back. The shape of the first slot 26 can be described further as follows. Divide a circle into four quadrants using a Cartesian coordinate system with x and y axes. Slightly shift the x-axis in the +y direction so that the circle is slightly off center of the center point (0,0) of the system, along the y-axis. Protrude the portion of the circle in the −x,−y or third quadrant along the x-axis, in the −x direction, thus effectively shifting this portion of the circle to the side of the rest of the circle with two parallel lines of equal length connecting the portion with the remaining circle. One line is along the x-axis and both lines are perpendicular to the y-axis. In other embodiments the protruded portion can end in a straight line instead of an arc of a circle. In still other embodiments the portion represented here by the protruded portion can take on other shapes not confined to shapes related to circles.
  • The first slot 26 can optionally comprise a connecting section 38. The connecting section 38 can be used to facilitate assembling the toothbrush 2. The second piece 14 and the first piece 12 can be connected by placing the pivot 16 within the connecting section 38 and forcing the pivot 16 downward toward the rotating section 34 until the pivot has entered the rotating section 34. The depth of the connecting section 38 can be less than the depth of the rotating section 34 to prevent the toothbrush 2 from becoming disassembled. The depth of the connecting section 38 can also be less than the depth of both other sections. The other sections, i.e. the rotating section 34 and the locking section 36 can be the same depth.
  • Now turning to the second slot 30, the second slot 30 can be designed so that the protrusion 28 fits snuggly into the second slot 30. This can provide stability to the toothbrush 2 when in the open position. One or more sides of the protrusion 28 can be configured to substantially conform to the shape of the second slot 30. For example, three sides of the protrusion 28 can substantially conform to the shape of the second slot 30. The bottoms of the protrusion 28 and second slot 30 can also be configured to substantially conform to each other.
  • The third slot 32 is optional and is designed so that the protrusion 28 will fit within the third slot 32. The third slot 32 can be configured such that the protrusion 28 substantially conforms within the third slot 32 similar to the second slot 30.
  • Opening the toothbrush 2 from the closed position (FIG. 2) to the open position (FIG. 1) will now be described with reference to FIG. 6. A user can take the toothbrush 2 and while securing the first piece 12 of the handle in one hand, use the other hand to grip the second piece 14 and separate the handle 10 by pulling the second piece 14 away from the first piece 12. This should allow the second piece 14 to rotate in relation to the first piece 12. FIG. 6 demonstrates the relative positions of the first 12 and second 14 pieces of the handle as the toothbrush 2 moves from the closed position “A” to the open position “D”. Initially the second piece 14 rotates at the pivot 16 from the “A” position, through the “B” position until the second piece 14 reaches the end of its rotation at the “C” position. The second piece 14 then translates towards the first piece 12 to reach the final open position represented by the letter “D”.
  • FIGS. 7A-D show detail views of the pivot 16, protrusion 28 and first 26, second 30 and third 32 slots as the toothbrush moves from the closed position to the open position. In the closed position, as shown in FIG. 7A, the protrusion 28 is within the third slot 32 and the pivot 16 is within the first slot 26, in the rotating section 34. The pivot is semicircular with the arc facing the top region of the rotating section 34, as viewed in FIG. 7A. The second piece 14 can be rotated in relation to the first piece 12. FIG. 7B demonstrates one position of the pieces 12, 14 as the second piece 14 is rotated. In this position, as shown, the protrusion 28 is not within either of second 30 or third 32 slots, the pivot 16 is still within the rotating section 34 of the first slot 26 and now the arc of the pivot 16 is substantially facing the right side of the rotating section 34.
  • FIG. 7C shows the end of the rotation. At the end of the rotation, as shown, the protrusion 28 is still not within either of second 30 or third 32 slots, the pivot 16 is within the rotating section 34 of the first slot 26 and now the arc of the pivot is substantially facing the bottom of the rotating section 34. From this position the first 12 and second 14 pieces of the handle are then translated towards one another in the horizontal direction, as viewed in FIG. 7C. The pivot 16 then slides from the rotating section 34 to the locking section 36. The protrusion 28 also slides into the second slot 30. FIG. 7D shows the final position where the toothbrush 2 is in the open position. Here, the protrusion 28 and pivot 16 are secured within the second slot 30 and locking section 36, respectively, so that the second piece 14 is securely in position with respect to the first piece 12. By being thus secured, the user can be able to brush his or her teeth without the first 12 and second 14 pieces becoming disengaged prematurely.
  • After use, or when the user desires, the toothbrush 2 can be closed following the same steps as outlined above in the opposite direction and in reverse order. In other embodiments the positions and relations as explained above can be slightly different. For example, in other embodiments the pivot 16 can begin to enter the locking section 36 before finishing the step of rotating. In addition, according to certain embodiments the pivot 16 can rotate about between 165° and 195° within the first slot 26. In some embodiments the pivot 16 can rotate about 180° within the first slot 26.
  • The toothbrush 2 has many benefits. In particular, the toothbrush 2 is compact and easy to store. The toothbrush 2 is also especially useful for traveling. In addition, the receiving area 14 can protect the head 20 and bristles 22 from contact with other potentially unsanitary sources. For example, if the toothbrush 2 were placed in a closed position into a suitcase or toiletry bag, the bristles 22 and at least part of the head 20 could be protected from contacting over items that may be in the suitcase or bag. This can have the affect of preserving the cleanliness of the toothbrush. Also, the toothbrush 2 as described can be very secure in the open position. This can facilitate using the toothbrush 2 to brush the user's teeth as the user may not be required to maintain the toothbrush 2 in the open position by the force of the user's hand.
  • Another embodiment comprises a method of operating a folding toothbrush 2. The method can comprise providing the folding toothbrush 2, and opening the folding toothbrush 2 from a closed position. The step of opening the folding toothbrush 2 can comprise rotating a second section 14 of the toothbrush in relation to a first section 12 at a pivot 16, sliding the second section 14 in relation to the first section 12, wherein the pivot 16 can slide into a first securing slot 36 and sliding a protrusion 28 into a second securing slot 30. The method can further comprise using the toothbrush 2 to brush at least one tooth.
  • The method can still further comprise sliding the pivot 16 a distance equal to the length of the pivot 16. The step of rotating can further comprise rotating the second section 14 between about 165° and 195°.
  • Although certain embodiments, features, and examples have been described herein, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that many aspects of the methods and devices shown and described in the present disclosure may be differently combined and/or modified to form still further embodiments. For example, any one component shown and described above can be used alone or with other components without departing from the spirit of the present invention. Additionally, it will be recognized that the methods described herein may be practiced in different sequences, and/or with additional devices as desired. Such alternative embodiments and/or uses of the methods and devices described above and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention. Thus, it is intended that the scope of the present invention should not be limited by the particular embodiments described above, but should be determined only by a fair reading of the claims that follow.

Claims (15)

1. A folding toothbrush having an open position and a closed position, the toothbrush comprising:
a two-piece handle, the second piece configured to be received by the first piece in the closed position, the second piece comprising a head and at least one bristle;
a pair of pivots;
a pair of first slots, each pivot being in a corresponding first slot and configured to both rotate and slide within the first slot;
a second slot; and
a protrusion configured to substantially conform within the second slot when in the open position.
2. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein each of the pair of first slots comprise a rotating section and a locking section.
3. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein each of the pair of pivots is configured to be in the rotating section of the corresponding first slot in the open position and in the locking section of the corresponding first slot in the closed position.
4. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, further comprising a third slot, at least one side of the protrusion configured to substantially conform within the third slot when in the closed position.
5. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the pivot is configured to substantially conform within the locking section when in the open position.
6. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the rotating section being generally circular.
7. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the locking section being generally a trapezoid, rectangle or parallelogram in shape.
8. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the pivot can rotate about between 165° and 195° within the first slot.
9. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the pivot can rotate about 180° within the first slot.
10. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein three sides of the protrusion substantially conform within the second slot.
11. The folding toothbrush of claim 1, wherein each of the pair of first slots further comprise a connecting section, wherein the depth of the connecting section is less than the depth of the other sections.
12. A folding toothbrush having an open position and a closed position, the toothbrush comprising:
a two-piece handle, the second piece configured to be received by the first piece in the closed position, the second piece comprising a head and at least one bristle;
a pair of semicircular pivots;
a pair of first slots corresponding to the pair of semi-circular pivots, each pivot being in the corresponding first slot and configured to both rotate and slide within the first slot, each of the pair of first slots having a semi-circular region and an elongated region;
a pair of protrusions;
a pair of second slots corresponding to the pair of protrusions and each protrusion configured to substantially conform within the corresponding second slot when in the open position; and
a pair of third slots also corresponding to the pair of protrusions and each protrusion configured to fit within the corresponding third slot when in the closed position.
13. A method of operating a folding toothbrush comprising:
providing the folding toothbrush;
opening the folding toothbrush from a closed position, comprising:
rotating a second section of the toothbrush in relation to a first section at a pivot;
sliding the second section in relation to the first section, wherein the pivot slides into a first securing slot; and
sliding a protrusion into a second securing slot; and
using the toothbrush to brush at least one tooth.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the step of rotating further comprises rotating the second section between about 165° and 195°.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein the step of sliding the second section further comprises sliding the pivot a distance equal to the length of the pivot.
US12/238,222 2008-09-25 2008-09-25 Folding toothbrush Abandoned US20100071144A1 (en)

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US20100269277A1 (en) * 2007-12-13 2010-10-28 Stein Hofstad Combined article for personal hygiene
USD858107S1 (en) * 2018-02-28 2019-09-03 Salvatore P. DeRicco Foldable toothbrush
USD858108S1 (en) * 2018-02-28 2019-09-03 Salvatore P. DeRicco Foldable toothbrush

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US20100269277A1 (en) * 2007-12-13 2010-10-28 Stein Hofstad Combined article for personal hygiene
US8800573B2 (en) * 2007-12-13 2014-08-12 Stein Hofstad Combined article for personal hygiene
USD858107S1 (en) * 2018-02-28 2019-09-03 Salvatore P. DeRicco Foldable toothbrush
USD858108S1 (en) * 2018-02-28 2019-09-03 Salvatore P. DeRicco Foldable toothbrush

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