US20150265041A1 - Oral care system - Google Patents

Oral care system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150265041A1
US20150265041A1 US14/434,320 US201214434320A US2015265041A1 US 20150265041 A1 US20150265041 A1 US 20150265041A1 US 201214434320 A US201214434320 A US 201214434320A US 2015265041 A1 US2015265041 A1 US 2015265041A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
elongated member
portion
oral care
housing
state
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.)
Abandoned
Application number
US14/434,320
Inventor
Christine Boyke
Donghui Wu
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
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Colgate Palmolive Co filed Critical Colgate Palmolive Co
Priority to PCT/US2012/060768 priority Critical patent/WO2014062182A1/en
Assigned to COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY reassignment COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BOYKE, CHRISTINE, WU, DONGHUI
Assigned to COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY reassignment COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BOYKE, CHRISTINE, WU, DONGHUI
Publication of US20150265041A1 publication Critical patent/US20150265041A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B11/00Brushes with reservoir or other means for applying substances, e.g. paints, pastes, water
    • A46B11/001Brushes with reservoir or other means for applying substances, e.g. paints, pastes, water with integral reservoirs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B15/00Other brushes; Brushes with additional arrangements
    • A46B15/0095Brushes with a feature for storage after use
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B5/00Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware
    • A46B5/002Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware having articulations, joints or flexible portions
    • A46B5/0033Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware having articulations, joints or flexible portions bending or stretching or collapsing
    • A46B5/0041Mechanical joint or hinge, made up of several components
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B5/00Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware
    • A46B5/002Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware having articulations, joints or flexible portions
    • A46B5/0054Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware having articulations, joints or flexible portions designed to allow relative positioning of the head to body
    • A46B5/0075Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware having articulations, joints or flexible portions designed to allow relative positioning of the head to body being adjustable and stable during use
    • 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

An oral care system including an elongated member having tooth cleaning elements and a store of oral care material. In one aspect, the invention can be a toothbrush comprising a handle; a through-slot extending through the handle; an elongated member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis, the elongated member comprising: a toothbrush head located on a first side of the rotational axis; and a dispenser comprising a store of oral care material located on a second side of the rotational axis; a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the toothbrush head; the elongated member rotatable about the rotational axis between: (1) a first state in which the toothbrush head protrudes from the handle while the dispenser is nested within the through-slot; and (2) a second state in which the dispenser protrudes from the housing while the toothbrush head is nested within the through-slot.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to an oral care system, and specifically to an oral care system including a toothbrush and at least one dispenser that are coupled to a housing.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Oral care products or agents are applied, in different ways. For example, a common technique used the tooth whitening products is to cast an impression of a person's teeth and provide a tray of the shape of this impression. While tray-based systems are suitable, many people do not use them due to the fact that they tend to be uncomfortable and/or awkward. Moreover, in order to use a whitening tray, a user must keep the tray and the required components at hand. This not only requires extra storage space in already cramped bathroom cabinets but also requires that the user remember to use the whitening system. Furthermore, these tray-based systems are not conveniently portable for transport and/or travel.
  • In addition to difficulties in applying some oral care products, storage is sometimes cumbersome and inconvenient for the user. The oral care product must typically be stored separately from oral care tooth cleaning implements such as a toothbrush since the oral care product package and toothbrush heretofore are generally treated as separate and distinct parts of an oral care regimen. A more portable, compact and convenient way to store oral care products, and to dispense and apply those oral care products to oral surfaces is desired.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Embodiments of the present invention provide art efficient, compact, and portable oral care system that combines an oral care implement such as a toothbrush with an oral care product or agent dispenser in a highly portable housing. Advantageously, such embodiments are especially suited for easy transport and/or travel.
  • In one embodiment, the invention can be an oral care system comprising: a housing comprising a first side surface and a second side surface opposite the first side surface; a through-slot extending, through the housing from the first side surface to the second side surface and having an open top end; an elongated member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis, the elongated member comprising a first portion located on a first side of the rotational axis and a second portion located on a second side of the rotational axis; a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the first portion of the elongated member; a dispensing orifice in the second portion of the elongated member through which an oral care material stored in the elongated member can be dispensed; and the elongated member rotatable about the rotational axis between: (1) a first state in which the first portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing while the second portion of the elongated member is nested within the through-slot; and (2) a second state in which the second portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing while the first portion of the elongated member is nested within the through-slot.
  • In another embodiment, the invention can be a toothbrush comprising: a handle; a through-slot extending through the handle; an elongated member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis; the elongated member comprising: a toothbrush head located on a first side of the rotational axis; and a dispenser comprising; a store of oral care material located on a second side of the rotational axis; a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the toothbrush head; the elongated member rotatable about the rotational axis between: (1) a first state in which the toothbrush head protrudes from the handle while the dispenser is nested within the through-slot; and (2) a second state in which the dispenser protrudes from the housing while the toothbrush head is nested within the through-slot.
  • In yet, another embodiment, the invention can be an oral care system comprising: a housing; a member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis; a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the member; a dispensing orifice in the member through which an oral care material stored in the elongated member can be dispensed; and the elongated member rotatable about the rotational axis, the member is an integral construction.
  • In still another embodiment, the invention can be an oral care system comprising: a housing comprising a first side surface and a second side surface opposite the first side surface; a through-slot extending through the housing from the first side surface to the second side surface and having an open top end; a member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis, the member comprising a first portion located on a first side of the rotational axis, a second portion located on a second side of the rotational axis, and a third portion located on a third side of the rotational axis; a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the first portion of the elongated member; a first dispensing orifice in the second portion of the elongated member through which a first oral care material stored in the second portion can be dispensed; and a second dispensing orifice in the third portion of the elongated member through which a second oral care material stored in the third portion can be dispensed; and the member rotatable about the rotational axis between: (1) a first state in which the first portion protrudes from the open top end; (2) a second state in which the second portion protrudes from the open top end; and (3) a third state in which the third portion protrudes from the open top end.
  • 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
  • The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • FIG. 1A is a front view of an oral care system according to one embodiment of the present invention including an elongated member rotatably coupled to a housing and having a first portion of the elongated member protrude from the housing, wherein the arrows indicate the direction of rotation of the elongated member;
  • FIG. 1B is a front view of the oral care system of FIG. 1A wherein the elongated member has been rotated so that a second portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing;
  • FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the oral care system taken along line II-II of FIG. 1A;
  • FIG. 3 is a close-up view of area III of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional view taken along line IVA-IVA of FIG. 1 in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, illustrating a mechanism for locking the elongated member in place when the first portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing; and
  • FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view taken along line IVB-IVB of FIG. 1B in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, illustrating a mechanism for locking the elongated member in place when the second portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing.
  • FIG. 5A is a front view of an oral care system according to another embodiment of the present invention wherein the elongated member comprises a first portion configured as a toothbrush, a second portion configured as a first dispenser, and a third portion configured as a second dispenser, and wherein the elongated member is in a first state;
  • FIG. 5B is a front view of the oral care system of FIG. 5A wherein the elongated member has been rotated to a second state; and
  • FIG. 5C is a front view of the oral care system of FIG. 5A wherein the elongated member has been rotated to a third state.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • 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.
  • The description of illustrative embodiments according to principles of the present invention is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are to be considered part of the entire written description. In the description of embodiments of the invention disclosed herein, any reference to direction or orientation is merely intended for convenience of description and is not intended in any way to limit the scope of the present invention. Relative terms such as “lower,” “upper,” “horizontal,” “vertical,” “above,” “below,” “up,” “down,” “top” and “bottom” as well as derivatives thereof (e.g., “horizontally,” “downwardly,” “upwardly,” etc) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing under discussion. These relative terms are for convenience of description only and do not require that the apparatus be constructed or operated in a particular orientation unless explicitly indicated as such. Terms such as “attached,” “affixed,” “connected,” “coupled,” “interconnected,” and similar refer to a relationship wherein structures inc secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise. Moreover, the features and benefits of the invention are illustrated by reference to the exemplified embodiments. Accordingly, the invention expressly should not be limited to such exemplary embodiments illustrating some possible non-limiting combination of features that may exist alone or in other combinations of features; the scope of the invention being defined by the claims appended hereto.
  • Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described with respect to one or more possible oral care or treatment systems. Embodiments of the oral care system include a dispenser that may include, without limitation, one or more of the following oral care fluids: tooth whitening, antibacterial, enamel protection, anti-sensitivity, anti-inflammatory, anti-attachment, fluoride, tartar control/protection, flavorant, sensate, colorant and others. However, other embodiments of the present invention may be used to store and dispense any suitable type of oral care fluid and the invention is expressly not limited to any particular oral care system or fluid alone. A more detailed, although still non-exhaustive, listing of possible oral care materials that may be stored in the dispenser of the present invention and utilized with the oral care system will be provided below.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B concurrently, an oral care system 100 is illustrated according to one embodiment of the present invention. The oral Care system 100 is a compact readily portable self-contained user-friendly system that comprises all of the necessary components and chemistries for a user to perform a desired oral care treatment routine. As will be described in greater detail below, the oral care system 100 in one exemplary embodiment generally takes the form of a housing having a toothbrush and a dispenser that are pivotably or rotatably coupled thereto. The oral care system 100 is portable for travel, easy to use, and reduces the amount of required storage space. Furthermore, since the toothbrush and dispenser are housed together, the user is less likely to misplace the dispenser and ill be more inclined to maintain the oral treatment routine with the dispenser since brushing will remind the user to simply detach and apply the contents of the dispenser.
  • The oral care system 100 generally comprises a housing 110 and an elongated member 120 rotatably coupled to the housing 110. Specifically, the elongated member 120 is rotatably coupled to the housing 110 for rotation about a rotational axis A-A. The elongated member 120 comprises a first portion 121 located on a first side of the rotational axis A-A and a second portion 122 located on a second side of the rotational axis A-A. In the exemplified embodiment, the second side of the rotational axis A-A at which the second portion 122 is located is opposite the first side of the rotational axis A-A at which the first portion 121. Thus, the first and second portions 121, 122 extend from the rotational axis A-A at 180° (angular) apart from one another, thereby forming a substantially linear structure. In other embodiments, the first and second portions 121, 122 extend from the rotational axis A-A at other angular offsets, such as less than 180°, including 90° or 120° apart. In such embodiments, the second side of the rotational axis A-A at which the second portion 122 is located is not opposite from the first side of the rotational axis A-A at which the first portion 121. In still another embodiment (see e.g., FIG. 5 and related discussion below), the elongated member 120 may comprise more than two portions extending from the rotational axis A-A.
  • The elongated member 120 comprises various components that assist a user in oral care as will be discussed in detail below. The housing 110 provides a mechanism by which the user can hold and manipulate the oral care system 100 during use. The housing 110 can take on various shapes, sizes and configurations other than those illustrated to enhance the comfort and gripability of the housing 110 to a user during use of the oral care system 100.
  • The first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 are integrally connected so that rotation of one of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 about the rotational axis A-A results in corresponding rotation of the other one of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated, member 120 about the rotational axis A-A. In certain embodiments, the elongated member 120 may be formed as a one-piece structure that includes both the first and second portions 121, 122. However, in other embodiments the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 can be separately formed and connected at a later stage in the manufacturing process. Regardless of the formation of the elongated member, the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 are integrally connected together and rotate together.
  • As will be discussed in more detail below, in the oral care system 100 one of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 is always protruding from the housing 110 when the other one of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 is retained within the housing 110. This is due to the arrangement whereby the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 are oriented 180° apart from one another in the exemplified embodiment. For example, in FIG. 1A the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is protruding from the housing 110 while the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is contained within the housing 110. Rotation of the elongated member 120 one-hundred eighty degrees) (180°) about the rotational axis A-A in the direction indicated by the arrows in FIG. 1A results in the configuration illustrated in FIG. 1B wherein the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is protruding from the housing 110 while the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is contained within the housing 110. Thus, each of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member are applied to a user's oral cavity separately to achieve separate oral care benefits. Furthermore, in certain embodiments each of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member can be applied to a user's oral cavity sequentially so that a combined oral care benefit can be achieved. It should also be appreciated that the elongated member 120 may alternatively or additionally rotate in an opposite rotational direction to that depicted by the arrows in FIG. 1A.
  • In certain embodiments, the housing 110 is formed of a rigid plastic material, such as for example without limitation polymers and copolymers of ethylene, propylene, butadiene vinyl compounds and polyesters such as polyethylene terephthalate. Furthermore, in certain embodiments the elongated member 120 is also formed of one of the rigid plastic materials noted above. However, the invention is not to be so limited in all embodiments and in certain other embodiments the housing 110 and/or the elongated member 120 can be formed of other materials. Furthermore, in some embodiments the housing 110 and portions of the elongated member 120 may be overmolded with a soft, resilient material, such as a thermoplastic elastomer, to provide comfort to a user when gripping the housing 110 during use of the oral care system 100 to clean and/or sanitize a user's oral cavity.
  • When the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110 as illustrated in FIG. 1A, the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 forms a toothbrush device that can be used by a user to brush and/or scrub his or her teeth. In this state, the first portion 121 of the elongated member forms a neck 126 and a head 127 of the toothbrush device while the housing 110 forms a handle of the toothbrush device. The head 127 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 has a first surface 123 and an opposing second surface 124. A plurality of tooth cleaning elements 125 extend from the first surface 123 of the head 127 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120. In the exemplified embodiment, the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 has a terminal end 128, and the plurality of tooth cleaning elements 125 are located adjacent to the terminal end 128 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120.
  • The exact structure, pattern, orientation and material of the tooth cleaning elements 125 is not to be limiting of the present invention unless so specified in the claims. As used herein, the term “tooth cleaning elements” is used in a generic sense to refer to any structure that can be used to clean, polish or wipe the teeth and/or soft oral tissue (e.g. tongue, cheek, gums, etc.) through relative surface contact. Common examples of “tooth cleaning elements” include, without limitation, bristle tufts, filament bristles, fiber bristles, nylon bristles, spiral bristles, rubber bristles, elastomeric protrusions, flexible polymer protrusions, combinations thereof and/or structures containing such materials or combinations. Suitable elastomeric materials include any biocompatible resilient material suitable for uses in an oral hygiene apparatus. To provide optimum comfort as well as cleaning benefits, the elastomeric material of the tooth or soft tissue engaging elements has a hardness property in the range of A8 to A25 Shore hardness. One suitable elastomeric material is styrene-ethylenelbutylene-styrene block copolymer (SEBS) manufactured by GLS Corporation. Nevertheless, SEBS material from other manufacturers or other materials within and outside the noted hardness range could be used.
  • The tooth cleaning elements 125 of the present invention can be connected to the head 127 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 in any manner known in the art. For example, staples/anchors, in-mold tufting (IMT) or anchor free tufting (AFT) could be used to mount the cleaning elements/tooth engaging elements. In AFT, a plate or membrane is secured to the brush head such as by ultrasonic welding. The bristles extend through the plate or membrane. The free ends of the bristles on one side of the plate or membrane perform the cleaning function. The ends of the bristles on the other side of the plate or membrane are melted together by heat to be anchored in place. Any suitable form of cleaning elements may be used in the broad practice of this invention. Alternatively, the bristles could be mounted to tuft blocks or sections by extending through suitable openings in the tuft blocks so that the base of the bristles is mounted within or below the tuft block.
  • In certain embodiments, the head 127 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 may also include a soft tissue cleanser coupled to or positioned on its second surface 124. An example of a suitable soft tissue cleanser that may be used with the present invention and positioned on the second surface 124 of the head 127 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,143,462, issued Dec. 5, 2006 to the assignee of the present application, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference. In certain other embodiments, the soft tissue cleanser may include protuberances, which can take the form of elongated ridges, nubs, or combinations thereof. Of course, the invention is not to be so limited and in certain embodiments the head 127 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 may not include any soft tissue cleanser.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1B and 2 concurrently, the oral care system 100 will be further described. An oral care material 140 is stored in the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. The second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 comprises a terminal end 131. In the exemplified embodiment, a dispensing orifice 132 is formed into the terminal end 131 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. The dispensing orifice 132 provides an opening in the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 through which the oral care material 140 contained within the second portion 122 of the elongated member can be dispensed.
  • In the exemplified embodiment, the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 forms a dispenser 130 for containing a store of the oral care material 140. The dispenser 130 is an elongated structure having an inner surface 141 that defines a hollow interior cavity 142 for storing the oral care material 140 therein. In certain embodiments, the dispenser 130 may be refillable so that a user can refill the oral care material 140 into the dispenser 130 after depletion thereof. However, in certain other embodiments upon depletion of the oral care material 140 within the dispenser 130, the entire oral care system 100 will be replaced. Thus, the amount of the oral care material 140 may be indicative of the life-cycle of the tooth cleaning elements 125 the oral care material 140 may last for three months when used regularly, which is the time period recommended for replacement of a toothbrush).
  • The dispenser 130 comprises an elongated body portion 133 and an applicator 134. In certain embodiments, the elongated body portion 133 may be formed of a compressible material so that the oral care material 140 contained therein can be dispensed. Of course, the invention is not to be so limited and other techniques for dispensing the oral care material 130 from the dispenser 130 can be used, such as for example a threaded screw coupled to an elevator platform, a mechanical electrical or electromechanical pump, or the like.
  • In the exemplified embodiment, the dispensing orifice 132 is formed into the applicator 134 of the dispenser 130. In certain embodiments, the applicator 134 may be formed of an elastomeric material to provide comfort when applying the oral care material directly onto a user's teeth and/or oral surfaces from the dispenser 130. Specifically, when dispensing the oral care material 140 directly onto a tooth, the applicator 134 can be made to contact the tooth directly to ensure that the oral care material 140 is adequately and sufficiently applied onto the tooth surface. Forming the applicator 134 out of an elastomeric material makes this direct dispensing process more comfortable for a user. However, the invention is not to be so limited and in certain other embodiments the applicator 134 may be formed of other materials, including bristles, a porous or sponge material, or a fibrillated material. Furthermore, in still other embodiments the applicator 134 may be omitted and the dispensing orifice 132 can be formed directly into the dispenser 130 for dispensing the oral care material 140 contained therein.
  • The elongated member 120 further comprises a cap 139 detachably coupled to the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. The cap 139 is detachably coupled to the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 to enclose the dispensing orifice 132 and prevent accidental dispensing of the oral care material 140 from the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 from occurring. In certain embodiments, the cap 139 may include a sealing member that protrudes into the dispensing orifice 132 to perform the seal. In other embodiments, the cap 139 merely covers a portion of or the entirety of the applicator 134 to prevent leakage of the oral care material 140 stored therein. Furthermore, in some embodiments a second cap may be provided to be detachably coupled to the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 so as to provide protection to the tooth cleaning elements 125 extending therefrom.
  • When the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110 as illustrated in FIG. 1B, the housing 110 forms a handle for applying the oral care material contained within the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. Thus, the housing 110 is used as the handle both when the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is used to clean a user's teeth and/or oral cavity and when the second portion 122 of the elongated member is used to apply the oral care material 140 onto a user's teeth and/or oral cavity. As such, the housing 110 can be shaped in any desired ergonomic fashion to achieve a comfortable gripping surface for a user.
  • The elongated member 120 comprises both tooth cleaning elements 125 extending therefrom and the oral care material 140 stored therein for use in an oral care regimen. By forming the oral care system 100 to include both the tooth cleaning elements 125 and the oral care material 140, the oral care system 100 functions as a stand-alone device for oral care that can achieve both tooth and oral surface cleaning as well as other benefits achieved through use of the oral care material 140 as will be discussed in more detail below. In certain embodiments, the oral care system 100 may merely be considered a toothbrush wherein the housing 110 forms the handle of the toothbrush and the elongated member 120 comprises a toothbrush head having tooth cleaning elements extending therefrom and a dispenser containing an oral care material.
  • Referring briefly to FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2, 4A and 4B concurrently, the housing 110 comprises a first side surface 111 and a second side surface 112 opposite the first side surface 111. A through-slot 115 extends through the housing 110 from the first side surface 111 to the second side surface 112. Thus, each of the first and second side surfaces 111, 112 comprises an opening that provides access to the through-slot 115. The through-slot 115 provides a passageway for the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 to pass through the housing 110 when the elongated member 120 is rotated about the rotational axis A-A. Thus, the through-slot 115 enables the elongated member 120 to alternate between having the first portion 121 protruding from the housing 110 and having the second portion 122 protruding from the housing 110 and enables a full 360 rotation of the elongated member 120 about the rotational axis A-A.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 2, the oral care system 100 comprises a pin 117 upon which the elongated member 120 rotates. The pin 117 is an elongated cylindrical shaped pin that extends along the rotational axis A-A. The pin 117 extends through a through-hole 118 formed into the elongated member 120. The distance from the pin 117 and the rotational axis A-A to the terminal end 128 of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is substantially equal to the distance from the pin 117 and the rotational axis A-A to the terminal end 131 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. Furthermore, although the terminal end 131 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is illustrated as being the end of the applicator 134, in certain embodiments the terminal end 131 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 can be the end of the cap 139. This ensures that both the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 fit within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110.
  • The second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 has an outer surface 129. Furthermore, the housing 110 has an inner surface 113 that defines the through-slot 115. In the exemplified embodiment, when the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is nested within the through-slot 115 as illustrated in FIG. 2, the outer surface 129 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is in surface contact with the inner surface 113 of the housing 110. Thus, the width of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 at the outer surface 129 is substantially equal to the width of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 that defines the through-slot 115. Such a structural arrangement and relative sizing of the components ensures that when the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is located within the through-slot 115, it will not rotate out of the through-slot 115 without a user applying a force to rotate the elongated member 120.
  • Similarly, in the exemplified embodiment the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 has an outer surface 139 at the head portion 127 that is substantially equal in width to the outer surface 129 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. Thus, when either of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 are located within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110, the elongated member 120 is prevented from rotation without some user assistance. Specifically, when the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 are located within the through-slot 115, the outer surfaces 139, 129 of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 rub against the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 to form an interference fit therebetween in order to maintain the elongated member 120 in a particular state of rotation (i.e., in the first state with the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 protruding from the housing 110, or in the second state with the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 protruding from the housing). Of course, it should be appreciated that the fit between the outer surfaces 139, 129 of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 and the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 is not so tight as to prevent rotation, but merely to prevent undesired and continuous rotation of the elongated member 120 without the user applying a force on the elongated member 120 or otherwise purposely rotating the elongated member 120.
  • Nonetheless, in certain other embodiments the widths at the outer surfaces 139, 129 of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 may be smaller than the width of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 that defines the through-slot 115 to ensure that the rotation of the elongated member 120 is not retarded or prevented. However, in certain embodiments the oral care system 100 includes a locking element 180 that is biased into a locking position when one of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 is located within the through-slot to prevent rotation of the elongated member 120 without a user disengaging the locking element 180, as will be discussed in more detail below with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3. Of course, other locking systems can be used to prevent rotation of the elongated member 120 when such rotation is undesirable, examples of which will be described in more detail below with reference to FIGS. 4A and 4B.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 1-2, the through-slot 115 further comprises an open top end 116 which further enables the first and/or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 to protrude from the housing 110 and further facilitates rotational movement of the elongated member 120 relative to the housing 110. Thus, the elongated member 120 is rotatable about the rotational axis A-A between a first state, as illustrated in FIG. 1A, in which the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from a distal end of the housing 110 via the open top end 116 of the housing 110 while the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is nested within the through-slot 115, and a second state, as illustrated in FIG. 1B, in which the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from a distal end of the housing 110 via the open top end 116 of the housing 110 while the first portion 121 of the elongated, member 120 is nested within the through-slot 115. In this manner, when the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110, the tooth cleaning elements 125 can be used to brush and/or otherwise clean a user's teeth and oral surfaces while the housing 110 protects the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 and keeps the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 out of the user's way so as not to interfere with the tooth brushing. Similarly, when the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110, the oral care material 140 can be dispensed into a user's oral cavity to provide various benefits to the user while the housing 110 protects the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 and the tooth cleaning elements 125 against damage and keeps the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 out of the user's way so as not to interfere with the oral care material 140 dispensing.
  • In certain embodiments, it is desirable to store the oral care system 100 in the second state illustrated in FIG. 1B during periods of non-use. This is because the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 comprises the cap 139 for protecting the applicator 134 and preventing leakage of the oral care material 140 stored therein. However, the tooth cleaning elements 125 are not protected against damage when the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110. Thus, by storing the oral care system 100 with the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 nested within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110, the tooth cleaning elements 125 can be protected and the life-cycle of the oral care system 100 can be extended. Of course, the oral care system 100 can be stored with either of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 protruding from the housing 110 as desired.
  • Referring again to FIGS. 1A and 1B, the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 comprises a first recess 146. Similarly, the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 comprises a second recess 147. In the exemplified embodiment, each of the first and second recesses 146, 147 are illustrated as being square-shaped recesses. However, the invention is not to be so limited and the shape and relative size of the recesses 146, 147 is not to be limiting, of the invention in all embodiments. Each of the first and second recesses 146, 147 is a divot or indentation formed into the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member, respectively. As will be discussed in more detail below, in one exemplified embodiment a portion of the locking element 180 fits into the first and second recesses 146, 147 to prevent rotation of the elongated member 120.
  • The first recess 146 is located a first distance D1 from the rotational axis A-A. The second recess 147 is located a second distance D2 from the rotational axis A-A. Furthermore, the second distance D2 is the same or substantially equal to the first distance D1. The first and second recesses 146, 147 provide a region on the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 for the locking element 180 to engage the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 to prevent rotation of the elongated member 120 when such rotation is undesirable, such as during use and storage of the oral care system 100. By maintaining the first distance D1 as the same as the second distance D2, the locking mechanism 180 is able to engage both of the recesses 146, 147 independently depending upon which of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 is located within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110.
  • The first portion 121 has a first length L1 measured from the rotational axis A-A to the distal end 128 while the second portion 122 has a second length L2 measured from the rotational axis A-A to the distal end 151 (FIG. 1A). In the exemplified embodiment, the first and second lengths L1, L2 are substantially equal to one another. In another embodiment, the first and second lengths L1, L2 may not be equal. In one such embodiment, the first length L1 is greater than the second length L2. In another such embodiment, the second length is greater than the first length L1.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3 concurrently, the locking element 180 will be described in more detail. The locking element 180 is used for maintaining the elongated member 120 in the first state or the second state described above. Specifically, the lacking element 180 prevents rotation of the elongated member 120 by engaging the recesses 146, 147 of the first and second portions 121 122 of the elongated member 120. The locking element 180 generally comprises a latch portion 181 and a biasing element 182. Furthermore, an actuator 183 is operably coupled to the locking element 180 to alter the locking element 180 between a locked state and an unlocked state. In the embodiment exemplified in FIGS. 2 and 3, the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is nested within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110 and the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110. In this position, the locking element 180 engages the recess 147 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. More specifically, the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 protrudes into the recess 147 of the second portion 122 of the elongated, member 120 to prevent the elongated member 120 from rotating about the rotational axis A-A.
  • The locking element 180 is biased into the locked state, illustrated in FIG. 3, in which the locking element 180, and specifically the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 engages the elongated member 120 to prevent relative rotation between the elongated member 120 and the housing 110. More specifically, the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 protrudes into the recess 146, 147 of either the first or second portion 121, 122 of the elongated member 120, depending upon which one of the first or second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 are located within the through-slot 115. Thus, if the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is located within the through-slot 115, the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 nests within the first recess 146 of the first portion 121 of the elongated, member 120 to prevent rotation of the elongated member 120. If the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is located within the through-slot 115 (as illustrated in FIGS, 2 and 3), the latch portion 181 of the locking, element 180 nests within the second recess 147 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 to prevent rotation of the elongated member 120.
  • The locking element 180 is biased into the locked state via the biasing element 182. In the exemplified embodiment, the biasing element 182 is a torsion spring. However, the invention is not to be so limited in all embodiments and in certain other embodiments the biasing element 182 can be a compression spring, a tension spring, a barrel spring, an extension spring, a coil spring, a drawbar spring, a magazine spring, a spring pin, a cotter pin, spring washers, wave springs or any other type of element capable of biasing the locking element 180 into the locked state as illustrated.
  • The locking element 180 is alterable between the locked state discussed above and an unlocked state in which the locking element 180 disengages the elongated member 120 to allow relative rotation between the elongated member 120 and the housing 110. Specifically, by actuating the actuator 183, the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 is removed from the first or second recess 146, 147 of the first or second portion 121, 122 of the elongated member 120, respectively. When the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 is removed from the first or second recess 146, 147, the locking member 180 is in the unlocked state. The actuator 183 must be actuated with enough force to overcome the bias of the biasing element 182 in order to pull the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 out of the first or second recess 146, 147. Upon removing the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 out of the first or second recess 146, 147, the locking element 180 is in the unlocked state and relative rotation between the elongated member 120 and the housing 110 is enabled.
  • When the elongated member 120 is in the first state such that the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110 and the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 nests within the through-slot 115 (FIG. 1A), the locking element 180 is in the locked state by having the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 protrude into the second recess 147. Similarly, when the elongated member 120 is in the second state such that the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 protrudes from the housing 110 and the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 nests within the through-slot 115 (FIG. 1B), the locking element 180 is in the locked state by having the latch portion 181 of the locking element 180 protrude into the first recess 146. In certain other embodiments, the recesses 146, 147 may be omitted and the lock state can be achieved by the locking element 180 engaging the outer surface of the elongated member 120 with enough force to prevent rotation thereof relative to the housing 110.
  • Of course, in certain other embodiments the locking element 180 can be altogether omitted. In such embodiments, the interference fit or contact between the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 and the outer surfaces 139, 129 of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120, as discussed above, can be used to maintain the elongated member 120 in the first and/or second states and prevent rotation of the elongated member 120 relative to the housing 110. Furthermore, in other embodiments relative rotation between the elongated member 120 and the housing 110 can be prevented by other mechanisms, including for example without limitation a set screw, a slide lock, a magnetic lock, a twist-lock, a button-type lock, an electronic lock, a pin lock, or the like. In such embodiments, the component that engages the elongated member 120 will be considered the locking element. However, in still other embodiments the transverse cross-sectional profiles of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 can be formed to maintain the elongated member 120 in the first and/or second states, thereby serving, as a locking mechanism, as discussed below.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 4A and 4B concurrently, an alternative mechanism for maintaining the elongated member 120 in the first and/or second states will be described. The embodiment exemplified in FIGS. 4A and 4B can be utilized both with and without the locking element 180 discussed above. Thus, in certain embodiments both the mechanism discussed below and the locking element 180 can be used in combination, to maintain positioning of the elongated member 120 relative to the housing 110 and to prevent undesirable rotation of the elongated member 120. However, in other embodiments either only the locking element 180 discussed above or only the alternative mechanism discussed below can be used. In still other embodiments, neither the locking, element 180 nor the alternative mechanism discussed below are utilized and rotation of the elongated member 120 can be prevented simply by a user gripping the housing 110 and preventing the elongated, member 120 from sliding out of the through-slot, or any other techniques discussed herein.
  • Referring first to FIG. 4A, the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is illustrated nested within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110. Thus, in FIG. 4A the elongated member 120 is in the first state (i.e., the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is protruding from the housing 110 and the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is nested within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110). The second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 comprises a transverse cross-sectional profile configured to matingly engage the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 to maintain the elongated member 120 in the first state.
  • Specifically, the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 comprises a first pair of spaced apart protuberances 105 on a first side 101 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110. The inner surface 113 of the housing 110 also comprises a second pair of spaced apart protuberances 106 on a second side 102 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110, the second side 102 being opposite the first side 101. Each of the protuberances 105 on the first side 101 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 is aligned with one of the protuberances 106 on the second side 102 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110. Furthermore, a first socket 103 is formed between the pair of protuberances 105 on the first side 101 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 and a second socket 104 is formed between the pair of protuberances 106 on the second side 102 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110.
  • As noted above, the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 comprises a transverse cross-sectional profile configured to matingly engage the inner surface 113 of the housing 110. More specifically, the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 comprises a first protuberance 107 and a second protuberance 108. When the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 rotates into the through-slot 115 of the housing 110, the first protuberance 107 nests within the first socket 103 and the second protuberance 108 nests within the second socket 104. In this manner, the elongated member 120 is prevented from further rotation about the rotational axis A-A without a force being applied on the elongated member 120. Thus, forming the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 with the transverse cross-sectional profile described above, and forming the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 with the transverse cross-sectional profile described above, creates a built-in locking mechanism that assists with maintaining the elongated member 120 in the first state. Of course, through user applied or other pressure, the elongated member 120 can be rotated by applying force on the elongated member 120 sufficient to disengage the protuberances 107, 108 of the second portion of the elongated member 120 from the sockets 103, 104 in the inner surface 113 of the housing 110.
  • Referring now to FIG, 4B, the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is illustrated nested within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110. Thus, in FIG. 4B the elongated member 120 is in the second state (i.e., the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 is protruding from the housing 110 and the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 is nested within the through-slot 115 of the housing 110). The first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 comprises a transverse cross-sectional profile configured to matingly engage the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 to maintain the elongated member 120 in the first state.
  • Specifically, as discussed above, the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 comprises the first pair of spaced apart protuberances 105 on the first side 101 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110. The inner surface 113 of the housing 110 also comprises the second pair of spaced apart protuberances 106 on the second side 102 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110, the second side 102 being opposite the first side 101. As noted above, the first socket 103 is formed between the pair of protuberances 105 on the first side 101 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 and the second socket 104 is formed between the pair of protuberances 106 on the second side 102 of the inner surface 113 of the housing 110.
  • As noted above, the first portion 122 of the elongated member 120 comprises a transverse cross-sectional profile configured to matingly engage the inner surface 113 of the housing 110. More specifically, the first portion 122 of the elongated member 120 (i.e., the head 127 of the toothbrush device) comprises a first contoured side surface 175 and a second contoured side surface 176. When the first portion 122 of the elongated member 120 rotates into the through-slot 115 of the housing 110, the first contoured side surface 175 nests within the first socket 103 and the second contoured side surface 176 nests within the second socket 104. In this manner, the elongated member 120 is prevented from further rotation about the rotational axis A-A without a force being applied on the elongated member 120. Thus, forming the first portion 122 of the elongated member 120 with the transverse cross-sectional profile described above, and forming the inner surface 113 of the housing 110 with the transverse cross-sectional profile described above creates a built-in locking mechanism that assists with maintaining the elongated member 120 in the second state.
  • To ensure that each of the first and second portions 121, 122 of the elongated member 120 will engage the sockets 103, 104 formed into the inner surface 113 of the housing 110. the protuberances 107, 108 on the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 are located the same distance from the axis of rotation A-A as the first and second contoured side surfaces 175, 176 of the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120. Stated another way, the transverse cross-sectional profile of the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 that enables the first portion 121 of the elongated member 120 to engage the sockets 103, 104 and the transverse cross-sectional profile of the second portion 12 of the elongated member 122 that enables the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 to engage the sockets 103, 404 are located the same distance from the axis of rotation A-A.
  • As described herein, the oral care system 100 generally comprises a plurality of tooth cleaning elements and a store of oral care material. While the invention is described herein with respect to the use of tooth cleaning elements as one of the two primary components of the oral care system 100, it is to be understood that other alternative oral cleaning mechanisms (as alternatives to tooth cleaning elements) can be used within the scope of the invention, including powered or movable tooth cleaning elements, a tongue scraper, a gum and soft tissue cleanser, a water pick, an interdental, device, a tooth polisher, tooth engaging elements specially designed to increase the effect of the oral care material on the teeth or any other type of component that is commonly used for oral care. Thus, it is to be understood that the inventive concepts discussed herein can be applied to any type of oral cleaning mechanism unless a specific type of oral cleaning mechanism is specified in the claims.
  • It is to be understood that the inventive system can be utilized fur a variety of intended oral care needs by filling the elongated member 120 with any oral care material, such as an oral care fluid that achieves a desired oral effect. In one embodiment, the oral care material is preferably free of (i.e., is not) toothpaste as the oral care material is intended to augment not supplant the brushing regimen. However, the invention is not to be so limited and in other embodiments the oral care material may be or may include toothpaste. The oral care materials and/or its medium can be selected, to complement a toothpaste formula, such as by coordinating flavors, colors, aesthetics, or active ingredients.
  • The oral care materials contained within the elongated member 120 may be a measured amount of a semi-viscous, yet flowable, aesthetically pleasing, pleasant tasting oral care composition that is dosed or metered through the dispensing orifice and delivered directly into a user's oral cavity or onto the tooth cleaning elements. The oral care material can either be a flowable liquid and/or a solid that is easily dispensed for consumer use. The flowable liquids may include, without limitation, pastes, gels, rinses, foams, scrubbers, solids, liquids and or aerosols under compressed air.
  • The oral care materials can be used for a variety of oral care needs including but not limited to whitening, sensitivity, gum health, stain-removal, enamel strengthening, mouthrinse, breath spray, sanitizer solution for a toothbrush, a whole mouth care solutions. The oral care material may also include active ingredients typical of use in whole mouth oral care formulations. The oral care material may also contain sweeteners, particulates, and sensates capable of delivering unique benefits to the consumer.
  • The oral care material can be used as a stand-alone formulation. In some embodiments, the composition has the capability and potential of containing and delivering active ingredients, such as Fluoride Arginine, Triclosan, or the like, while further providing potential cleaning, stain-removal, whitening of the teeth surface with the incorporation of chemical agents such as hydrogen peroxide, or polishing abrasives such as, for example, silica dicalcium phosphate, precipitated calcium carbonate or the like. The composition also has the capability of delivering consumer perceivable visual signals via unique colorants, shapes, stripes, sparkles, extruded forms etc, while further delivering consumer perceivable sensory signals delivered via unique flavors, sweeteners, sensates, or the like.
  • The oral care materials include materials that provide oral health benefits to a user upon contact with a user's oral cavity. In one embodiment, the oral care materials are fluidic materials. For example, in certain embodiments the oral care materials include a mouthwash solution that cleans the oral surfaces when applied thereto and provides the user with breath freshening benefits. In other embodiments, the oral care materials include a tooth cleaning solution, such as a dentifrice. Of course, the oral care materials are not to be in any way limiting of the present invention and may include fluids having active or inactive agents that deliver therapeutic, cosmetic, experiential and/or sensorial benefits to a consumer during a tooth, soft tissue, tongue or interdental cleaning regimen. Specifically, the oral care material can be an anti-sensitivity agent, fluoride, a tartar protection agent, an antibacterial agent, an oxidative or whitening agent, an enamel strengthening or repair agent, a tooth erosion preventing agent, a tooth sensitivity ingredient, a gum health active, a nutritional ingredient, a tartar control or anti-stain ingredient, an enzyme, a sensate ingredient, a flavor or flavor ingredient, a breath freshening ingredient, an oral malodor reducing agent, an anti-attachment agent or sealant, a diagnostic solution, an occluding agent, a dry mouth relief ingredient, a catalyst to enhance the activity of any of these agents, colorants or aesthetic ingredients, arginine bicarbonate, chlorohexidine, triclosan, CPC, zinc oxide and combinations thereof. As noted above, in certain embodiments the oral care materials or at least one of the oral care materials is free of a dentifrice as the oral care fluid is intended to supplement traditional brushing of the teeth rather than supplant it.
  • In one alternate embodiment (not illustrated), the second portion 122 of the elongated member 120 can include a first dispensing orifice and a second dispensing orifice. In one such embodiment, the first dispensing orifice is fluidly coupled to a first store of oral care material within the second portion 122 while the second dispensing orifice is fluidly coupled to a second store of oral care material within the second portion 122. In this manner, the second portion 122 can be utilized to apply two different oral care materials, either concurrently or consecutively. In one such embodiment, the second portion 122 can include two separate hollow interior cavities 142 extending side-by-side, in which the first and second stores of oral care material are stored. As discussed above, these hollow interior cavities 142 would be fluidly coupled to the first and second dispensing orifices. In still another such embodiment, a single dispensing orifice can be provided, that is fluid coupled to both of the hollow interior cavities 142 so as to effectuate point-of-use mixing of the first and second oral care materials during dispensing through the dispensing orifice for immediately prior thereto in a mixing chamber).
  • Referring now to FIGS. 5A-5C concurrently, an oral care system 100A is illustrated according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention. The oral care system 100A is identical to the oral care system 100 discussed above with the exception that the elongated member comprises three portions instead of two. Thus, in order to avoid redundancy, only those aspects of the oral care system 100A that differ from the oral care system 100 will be discussed below. It is to be understood that non-contradictory concepts described above for oral care system 100 are (or can be) incorporated into the oral care system 100A. Moreover, for purposes of simplicity, corresponding elements of oral care system 100 and oral care system 100A will be given like reference numerals with the addition of the suffix “A.”
  • The oral care system 100A comprises a housing 110A and a member 120A rotatably coupled to the housing 110A. The housing 110A, in the exemplified embodiment, is identical to the housing 100 discussed above. However, in other embodiments, the housing 110A can be widened to accommodate the two of the three portions 121A, 122A, 223A of the member 120A that are not being used.
  • The member 120A is rotatably coupled to the housing 110A for rotation about a rotational axis X-X. The member 120 comprises a first portion 121A located on a first side of the rotational axis X-X, a second portion 122A located on a second side of the rotational axis X-X, and a third portion 223A located on a third side of the rotational axis X-X. In the exemplified embodiment, the first, second and third portions 121A, 122A, 223A are angulary equi-spaced from one another (i.e., about 120). In other embodiments, other angular spacing can be implemented. Rotation of one of the first, second or third portions 121A, 122A, 223A results in corresponding rotation of the other ones of the first, second or third portions 121A, 122A, 223A.
  • As discussed above for first portion 121, the first portion 121A is configured to be a toothbrush device in that a plurality of tooth cleaning elements 125A are mounted thereto. Furthermore, as discussed above with respect to the second portion 122, the second portion 122A is configured to be a dispenser containing a store of an oral care material. Additionally, similar to that described above for the second portion 122, the third portion 223A is also configured to be a dispenser containing a store of an oral care material. Thus, the oral care system 100A comprises a toothbrush device and two different dispensers. If desired, different oral care materials can be included in each of the dispensers formed by the second and third portions 22A, 223A respectively. The structures and functioning of the dispenser of each the second and third portions 122A, 223A is otherwise identical to that of the dispenser formed by the second portion 122 discussed above and, thus, requires no further explanation.
  • The member 120A rotatable about the rotational axis X-X between: (1) a first state (FIG. 5A) in which the first portion 121A protrudes from the open top end 116A of the through slot 115A; (2) a second state (FIG. 5B) in which the second portion 122A protrudes from the open top end 116A of the through lot 115A; and (3) a third state (FIG. 5C) in which the third portion 223A protrudes from the open top end 116A of the through slot 115A.
  • 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.
  • While the invention has been described with respect to specific examples including presently preferred modes of carrying out the invention, those skilled in the art will appreciate that there are numerous variations and permutations of the above described systems and techniques. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural and functional modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Thus, the spirit and scope of the invention should be construed broadly as set forth in the appended claims.

Claims (23)

1. An oral care system comprising:
a housing comprising a first side surface and a second side surface opposite the first side surface;
a through-slot extending through the housing from the first side surface to the second side surface and having an open top end;
an elongated member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis, the elongated member comprising a first portion located on a first side of the rotational axis and a second portion located on a second side of the rotational axis;
a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the first portion of the elongated member;
a dispensing orifice in the second portion of the elongated, member through which an oral care material stored in the elongated member can be dispensed; and
the elongated member rotatable about the rotational axis between: (1) a first state in which the first portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing while the second portion of the elongated member is nested within the through-slot; and (2) a second state in which the second portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing, while the first portion of the elongated member is nested within the through-slot.
2. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein in the first state the first portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing via the open top end of the through-slot, and wherein in the second state the second portion of the elongated member protrudes from the housing via the open top end of the through-slot
3. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein the dispensing orifice is located at a terminal end of the second portion of the elongated member.
4. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein the plurality of tooth cleaning elements are located adjacent a terminal end of the first portion of the elongated member.
5. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein the elongated member further comprises a cap detachably coupled to the second portion to enclose the dispensing orifice.
6. The oral care system according to claim I wherein in the first state the housing forms a handle of a toothbrush device and the first portion of the elongated member forms a neck and a head of the toothbrush device.
7. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein in the second state the housing forms a handle for applying the oral care material.
8. The oral care system according to claim 1 further comprising a locking element for maintaining the elongated member in the first state or the second state, wherein the locking element is alterable between a locked state in which the locking element engages the elongated member to prevent relative rotation between the elongated member and the housing and an unlocked state in which the locking element disengages the elongated member to allow relative rotation between the elongated member and the housing.
9. (canceled)
10. The oral care system according to claim 8 further comprising wherein the locking element is biased into the locked state.
11. The oral care system according to claim 8 wherein the first portion of the elongated member comprises a first recess and the second portion of the elongated member comprises a second recess, and wherein when the elongated member is in the first state and the locking element is in the locked state, the locking element protrudes into the second recess, and wherein when the elongated member is in the second state and the locking element is in the locked state, the locking element protrudes into the first recess.
12. (canceled)
13. The oral care system according to claim 8 further comprising an actuator, the actuator operably coupled to the locking element to alter the locking element between the locked state and the unlocked state.
14. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein the first portion of the elongated member comprises a transverse cross-sectional profile configured to matingly engage an inner surface of the housing to maintain the elongated member in the second state, and wherein the second portion of the elongated member comprises a transverse cross-sectional profile configured to matingly engage the inner surface of the housing to maintain the elongated member in the first state.
15. The oral care system according to claim 14 wherein the transverse cross-sectional profile of the first portion and the transverse cross-sectional profile of the second portion are located the same distance from the axis of rotation.
16. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein the first and second portions of the elongated member are integrally connected so that rotation of one of the first or second portions about the rotational axis results in corresponding rotation of the other one of the first or second portions about the rotational axis.
17. The oral care system according to claim 1 wherein the first portion has a first length and the second portion has a second length. and wherein the first and second lengths are substantially equal.
18. A toothbrush comprising:
a handle;
a through-slot extending through the handle;
an elongated member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis, the elongated member comprising:
a toothbrush head located on a first side of the rotational axis; and
a dispenser comprising a store of oral care material located on a second side of the rotational axis;
a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the toothbrush head;
the elongated member rotatable about the rotational axis between: (1) a first state in which the toothbrush head protrudes from the handle while the dispenser is nested within the through-slot; and (2) a second state in which the dispenser protrudes from the housing while the toothbrush head is nested within the through-slot.
19. The toothbrush according to claim 18 wherein the through slot comprises an open top end, wherein in the first state the toothbrush head of the elongated member protrudes from the handle via the open top end of the through-slot, and wherein in the second state the dispenser of the elongated member protrudes from the handle via the open top end of the through-slot.
20. The toothbrush according to claim 18 wherein the toothbrush head and the dispenser are integrally connected so that rotation of one of the toothbrush head or the dispenser about the rotational axis results in corresponding rotation of the other one of the toothbrush head or the dispenser about the rotational axis.
21. An oral care system comprising:
a housing;
a member rotatably coupled to the housing for rotation about a rotational axis;
a plurality of tooth cleaning elements extending from the member,
a dispensing orifice in the member through which an oral care material stored in the member can be dispensed; and
the member rotatable about the rotational axis.
22. The oral care system according to claim 21 further comprising;
a through-slot extending through the housing; and
the plurality of tooth cleaning elements located on a first side of the rotational axis while the dispensing orifice is located on a second side of the rotational axis opposite the first side: and
the member rotatable about the rotational axis between: (1) a first state in which the plurality of tooth cleaning elements are located outside of the through-slot; and (2) a second state in which the dispensing orifice is located outside of the through-slot.
23. (canceled)
US14/434,320 2012-10-18 2012-10-18 Oral care system Abandoned US20150265041A1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

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PCT/US2012/060768 WO2014062182A1 (en) 2012-10-18 2012-10-18 Oral care system

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EP (1) EP2900104A1 (en)
CN (1) CN104703510B (en)
AU (1) AU2012392543B2 (en)
BR (1) BR112015008787A2 (en)
MX (1) MX2015004880A (en)
RU (1) RU2597298C1 (en)
TW (1) TW201440687A (en)
WO (1) WO2014062182A1 (en)

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2656843A (en) * 1949-02-09 1953-10-27 Boulicault Marcel Teeth cleaning unit
US3738762A (en) * 1971-03-08 1973-06-12 J Moore Disposable toothbrush
US20060133885A1 (en) * 2004-12-21 2006-06-22 Basia Kaminski Oral hygiene device with liquid dentifrice
US7296580B1 (en) * 2005-09-12 2007-11-20 Donna Sbardella Hair styling apparatus
US20110135379A1 (en) * 2009-09-16 2011-06-09 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care system, kit and method
US20110290273A1 (en) * 2008-07-28 2011-12-01 Paul Murphy Tooth Care Implement

Family Cites Families (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5382107A (en) * 1994-01-12 1995-01-17 Nian; Jau-Jer Foldable toothbrush
FR2752150B1 (en) * 1996-08-08 1998-11-06 Bergeaud Yves Brush teeth pocket
US6945256B2 (en) * 2002-08-05 2005-09-20 Earl Gerald W Folding toothbrush with paste in handle
US7143462B2 (en) 2002-09-20 2006-12-05 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement
NO327668B1 (en) * 2007-12-13 2009-09-07 Stein Hofstad Combined article for personal hygiene
DE102010055052A1 (en) * 2010-12-08 2012-06-14 Michael, Dr. Gahlert Toothbrush has handle part with two ends, where one end is provided with brush head, and interdental space brush is retractable at another end of handle part

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2656843A (en) * 1949-02-09 1953-10-27 Boulicault Marcel Teeth cleaning unit
US3738762A (en) * 1971-03-08 1973-06-12 J Moore Disposable toothbrush
US20060133885A1 (en) * 2004-12-21 2006-06-22 Basia Kaminski Oral hygiene device with liquid dentifrice
US7296580B1 (en) * 2005-09-12 2007-11-20 Donna Sbardella Hair styling apparatus
US20110290273A1 (en) * 2008-07-28 2011-12-01 Paul Murphy Tooth Care Implement
US20110135379A1 (en) * 2009-09-16 2011-06-09 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care system, kit and method

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
CN104703510A (en) 2015-06-10
CN104703510B (en) 2017-03-08
WO2014062182A1 (en) 2014-04-24
EP2900104A1 (en) 2015-08-05
AU2012392543B2 (en) 2015-06-18
MX2015004880A (en) 2015-07-23
BR112015008787A2 (en) 2017-07-04
RU2597298C1 (en) 2016-09-10
AU2012392543A1 (en) 2015-04-16
TW201440687A (en) 2014-11-01

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