WO1981000959A1 - Dental floss loops and methods for producing them - Google Patents

Dental floss loops and methods for producing them Download PDF

Info

Publication number
WO1981000959A1
WO1981000959A1 PCT/US1980/001293 US8001293W WO8100959A1 WO 1981000959 A1 WO1981000959 A1 WO 1981000959A1 US 8001293 W US8001293 W US 8001293W WO 8100959 A1 WO8100959 A1 WO 8100959A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
strands
invention defined
loops
length
loop
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1980/001293
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
L Aikman
Cover M Le
Original Assignee
Aikman Leslie
Cover M Le
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US8236879A priority Critical
Priority to US82368 priority
Application filed by Aikman Leslie, Cover M Le filed Critical Aikman Leslie
Priority claimed from AU64808/80A external-priority patent/AU6480880A/en
Publication of WO1981000959A1 publication Critical patent/WO1981000959A1/en

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C15/00Devices for cleaning between the teeth
    • A61C15/04Dental floss; Floss holders not used, see subgroups
    • A61C15/045Threading or knotting devices

Abstract

This invention relates to the field of dental floss in which the present forms of floss are difficult and/or awkward to use. The form of the dental floss of this invention is a loop (10), which may be formed of conventional floss threads, and is made to have a circumference from eighteen to fourty centimeters. A continuum or cord of such loops may be made by forming a succession of loops from a single floss thread (30) or by interconnecting a pair of floss threads (50) and (52) which have been arranged in parallel at spaced regions (54) along their length.

Description

DENTAL FLOSS LOOPS AND METHODS FOR PRODUCING THEM

Technical Field

This invention relates to dental care products in the form of loops of dental floss material and to methods for making such products.

Background of the Invention

Dental flossing has long been available as a supplement to, or substitute for, brushing with tooth¬ paste for many years. Greater understanding of the mech¬ anisms of tooth decay and gum disease have led dental associations and dentists to institute a major patient education program relating to the use of dental floss.

While that program has had some success, it appears that a majority of those who undertake to attempt dental flossing soon abandon its use. Dental floss has been difficult and/or awkward to use, and flossing, using the forms of flosses that have been available in the past, takes too much time.

The fault lies with the form of the floss. Some excellent floss materials have been developed. Most are made of synthetic fiber strands woven into floss threads shaped as circular threads or narrow ribbons or tapes. A length of such a floss material drawn and worked between the user's teeth and in the gingival sulcus disturbs and removes plaque and aids in preventing the decay and disease process. The difficulty stems not from the floss material but from the manner in which it must be held during use. Typical instructions suggest that the user remove a 46 cm length of floss from a storage spool. That length is then "anchored" to the user's hands by wrapping the ends of the length around the user's middle fingers until the hands are separated by about 5 cm. Floss motion is to be guided during cleaning by manipulation of the thumbs. Fresh floss is made available by winding and unwinding between middle fingers to transfer the floss. While effective, that method is awkward and requires considerable practice. It is more difficult for children to learn than tooth brushing, so that it is easy to abandon flossing, in the years when tooth care habits are formed. A common complaint is that entwining the floss around one's fingers, tourniqet like, results in discomfort and even pain.

Summary of the Invention

The difficulty that has attended flossing in the past has been overcome in the invention by providing dental floss in the form of loops of floss. At first blus it might seem that floss in closed-loop form is even less convenient than the thread form that has been universal. Unless the loop is properly sized, the loop form is less convenient. However, if properly sized, the loop becomes a far more convenient and practical product than a straigh floss thread. The looped floss of the invention is much easier to use and can be used much more effectively than the straight thread form of the past. The loops are made to have a circumference, in preferred form, not less than eighteen centimeters and not more than forty centimeters. Given a loop of that size, users are led naturally to its proper use. Instead of wrapping a thirty-eight or forty centimeter length of floss onto one's fingers or some other inconvenient arrangement, users of the invention's loops are led to hold them properly. Fresh floss is avail¬ able without any need for winding and unwinding.

It is an attribute of the invention that the looped floss product may be produced and packaged for sale inexpensively, in a form no less convenient for the pur¬ chaser to deal with than the straight thread floss form. In one preferred form, the floss loops are interconnected end to end in series. The user simply severs the floss material at the interconnection point to remove the end loop from the series. Two threads may be extended in generally parallel fashion and joined together at inter¬ connecting portions along their length. The interconnectio portion is made sufficiently long to permit severing at an intermediate point along that portion to preserve the inte connection on both sides of that point.

_OMPI ' Alternatively, two interconnections, spaced closely together, preferably within one inch (or 2.5 cm), may be made in each interconnection region. Such a con¬ struction permits severing an individual loop from the length of loops.

It is not essential that the loops be arranged in series. For example, the loops can be connected to¬ gether for convenient packaging by forming a series of loops at spaced points along a single floss thread.

Interconnection may be made by any bonding pro- cess or by tying knots. A variety of tying machines are already available for that purpose. Tying has the feature that the knot can be arranged so that the standing parts of the thread can be made to diverge whereby the sides of the loop are spread apart and the loop is conveniently opened to loop form. The preferred floss materials have little resilience. Instead, they are pliant. When the loops are stored, it is convenient to stretch them, or the series of loops, to cord form in which the sides of the loop touch one another. In that form they can be wound on a bobbin or spool like an ordinary thread. A length corres¬ ponding to one loop is pulled from the spool and severed at a point in the interconnection region. It is possible to use the same kind of severing mechanism that is now used to sever conventional thread floss.

After removal from the cord of loops, the loop must be spread apart and held with both of the user's hands. In preferred form, the thread sides are easily identified and are easily separable to open the loop. That can be facilitated by selecting a proper knot configur¬ ation when tying, as described above. When the threads are interconnected by a bonding process , examples of which are sonic or thermal bonding, they are simply held such that the threads diverge somewhat at one side of the bond.

A major advantage of the invention is that existing floss materials, including threads, ribbons and tapes, may be employed. Even existing packaging is useabl although the increased utility of the loops of the inven- tion warrants the use of specially designed dispensers.

In one form of the invention the floss is braide into a continuous length of braided material at spaced points along its length. The result is the addition of a braided strand somewhat larger in diameter than the floss which can be used to scrub the surface of the teeth and gu whereby to increase the utility of the product.

The Drawings

e drawings :

Figure 1 is a plan view of a dental floss loop which embodies the invention;

Figure 2 is a view illustrating how the loop may be held during use at one side of a user's mouth;

Figure 3 illustrates how the loop is held when the position of the hands is reversed for use at the opposite side of the user's mouth;

Figures 4 and 5 are schematic views of frag¬ ments of a cord formed of floss loops showing different thread bonding arrangements, respectively;

Figure 6 is an isometric view of a convention¬ al dental floss holder in which is stored a cord of floss loops which embody the invention;

Figure 7 is a plan view of a series of dental floss loops formed by tying loops;

Figure 8 is a greatly enlarged view of the interconnected portion of two threads of dental floss;

Figure 9 illustrates how the loop is held when using a double thickness of floss;

Figure 10 illustrates another embodiment; and

Figure 11 is an enlargement of a portion of the embodiment of Figure 10. Description of Preferred Embodiments

The floss loop 10 of Figure 1 has a circumfer¬ ence of 28 centimeters. It is made of a floss composed of polyamide fibers woven into strands that are, in turn, woven into a narrow ribbon. The ribbon is twisted in the direction of its length to form a thread of irregular diameter along its length to facilitate the slight scraping and even abrating action that removes plaque as the thread is drawn against the sides of a user's teeth and in the gingival sulcus. The loop of Figure 1 is formed of two le of such a thread which have been laid parallel and bonded t gether at spaced portions along their length. The two leng have been numbered 12 and 14, respectively, to facilitate their identification in Figure 8 which, in enlarged view, shows how the lengths 12 and 14 have been bonded together. These were bonded by a combined sonic and thermal process at bond region 16 and 18. As a consequence of the bonding, the filaments and strands of the two threads have been bond together at 16 and 18 to form an integral interconnected portion originally as long as portion 16 and 18, before the bonded end 18 of the preceding loop was cut away.

Originally, loop 10 of Figure 1 was part of a "cord" formed by two threads which were bonded together at positions or regions along their lnegth spaced approxi¬ mately 14 cm apart. Although the product thus formed has the appearance of a two-thread cord, the threads could be spread apart intermediate the bond points to reveal a number of loops connected end to end in series.

During manufacture, the two threads were drawn through the bonding tool together. At the downstream side, the two threads were spread apart. They converged and came together at the position of the bonding tool. When the bond was made, the two threads were joined over the inter¬ connection region and in the process a short length of each strand was bonded to the other and became slightly stiff and resilient. The result is that the threads at the up¬ stream side of the bond tend to separate slightly. That feature has several advantages. It makes it easy to separate the threads to open the loops, and it makes the bond region more readily recognizable when severing individual loops of the cord.

Returning to Figure 8, it will be seen that 'end 20 of thread 12 and end 22 of thread 14 have been bonded. They combine with the interconnected portion 16 to form a Y shape. That is not true at the downstream side at interconnection 18. The interconnection 24 in Figure 1 has a shape and form similar to that of interconnection 18.

What has been described is the form and method of the invention that are now preferred. Other specific forms and variations of the method are possible, and in specific cases might be preferred. One such variation is shown in Figure 7 where loops 26, 27, 28 and 29 of a series of loops are shown. All are formed one at a time from a single strand 30 of twisted polyester filaments. The loops are formed by tying knots in strand 30. For identification, the knots have been numbered 31, 33, 37 and 39, respec¬ tively. If too large or too small, the loop exhibits disadvantages, but properly sized, it is surprisingly easy and effective to use. That use is illustrated in Figures 2 and 3. There the floss loop 32 extends over three fingers of one hand and thence to and over three fingers of the other hand, and back to the point of beginning. When using the loop, one hand is placed in front of the other. That has the effect of extending the loop over the top of the distant thumb. The taut upper part of the loop is exposed and is the part that is used for cleaning. Its position is controlled by the thumb of the far hand and the forefin of the near hand. In Figure 2, the left hand is the near one. The hand position thereshown is used to clean the te on the user's right. In the reversed position of Figure 3, the hands are arranged for cleaning teeth at the user's le Shifting the hands between these two positions is easy and natural. Children old enough to clean their own teeth nee only be shown once how to use the loops. Those with small hands may find it more convenient to slip four fingers of one or both hands into the loop instead of three fingers; those with large hands may prefer to put only two fingers of one or both hands through the loop. The experiment to adjust to convenient size takes only a moment and is accom¬ plished by accommodation on the part of the user. As far as the product is concerned, "one size fits all."

The preferred loop size requires only about one- half of the amount of floss thread recommended to be used by makers of the conventional threads and the dental asso¬ ciations. There is some added expenses, of course, in acco pushing interconnection in the practice of the method of the invention. The result is that the looped product of the invention is produced at a cost comparable to the cost of a corresponding amount of the previous straight thread product. Packaging costs for the looped product need not be greater for the new looped product.

That conventional packaging may be employed is illustrated in Figure 6 where a looped floss cord 34, made according to the invention, is stored in a conventional floss thread dispenser. The case 36 of the dispenser house a spool whose axis is perpendicular to the dispenser side walls. The walls are formed with inwardly extending cir¬ cular depressions which fit into the axial bore of the spool and serve as bearings for spool rotation. One wall 38 and its depression 40 are visible.

The length of floss loops 34 is wound on that spool in the manner in which cord is sually wound, and the standing part emerges from the exit slot 42 of the holder. The user draws out a short length of cord until the interconnection region 46 can be placed under the cutting edge of tab 44. Thereupon, the interconnection is placed under the tab and is pulled up to sever the cord. The operation is the same as it would be if conventional straight floss thread was being dispensed.

It is required, of course, that the user iden¬ tify the interconnection region lest he sever the loop instead of separating the end loop away. If the bonding method or knotting method does not produce a readily visible interconnection area, that area can be colored or it can be altered in shape to provide a tactile signal when withdrawn from its dispenser. The cord 34 of Figure 6 has colored markings at some of the interconnection regions along its length. Various bonding techniques were used in its forma¬ tion and some are illustrated- in schematic fashion in Figures 4 and 5.

In Figure 4, the two floss threads 50 and 52 are bonded together sonically and thermally over the entire length of the interconnection regions 53 and 54. In Figure 5, the two floss strands 62 and 64 are made to cross one another twice at each of the interconnection regions 65 and 66. The threads are bonded together sonically at each cross-over point. To separate a floss loop from the cord, the cord is severed between the two bonds at the inter¬ connection region.

Thus it is that the invention provides two kinds of products, one a superior dental floss structure in loop form, and the other a cord of interconnected dental floss loops which may be connected in series form, as in Figures 4, 5 and 10, or in parallel, as in Figure 7, or in some ot fashion. The utility of the floss loop does not depend up its production in cord form. The loop is just as useful i cut one at a time from a sleeve or tube of floss material.

Tooth spacing varies. Floss thickness, which must be minimum to ensure that it can be drawn between closely spaced teeth, may be inadequate for convenient cleaning of more widely spaced teeth. The floss loops of the invention are very easily doubled up as illustrated in Figure 9. One or two fingers of each hand extend through the loop, and both sides of the loop are made to extend over the thumbs or index fingers from one"hand to the othe

In a further variation, more than two strands ma be connected in parallel to form a loop one or both sides which are formed by more than one strand of floss and, whe two or more strands are used, one of them may have a great thickness with which to better clean teeth when tooth spac differs.

Dental floss is ordinarily used only to clean sp between teeth. That limitation is overcome in the embodim of Figure 10. In this embodiment, two strands of floss, 7 and 72, extend in parallel and are interconnected over spa regions of their length by being braided at those regions another strand of floss material. Three of those regions

_O.V.PI depicted in Figure 10 where they are identified by reference numerals 74, 76 and 78, respectively. The third strand is divided, in this embodiment, into two strands at the ends of the braided regions 74, 76 and 78, and each of the two strands in chain looped in what is sometimes called a single strand braid. The. single strand braids are not cut away in this embodiment. They are left intact. Each floss section includes two floss strands and two single braid strands. It is possible to omit one floss strand or one of the braided strands, but the form shown is preferred. The braided strands being heavier than the unbraided strands may fit between only the more widely spaced teeth of the user, but their primary function is in cleaning the front and rear sur¬ faces of the teeth, and for exercising the user's gums. The braided strands can be held to extend over the end of a finger just as the unbraided strands can be held because of the looped arrangement. Their irregular surfaces can be rubbed against the surfaces of the teeth and gums , and espe¬ cially at the juncture of teeth and gums, to provide a clean¬ ing and exercising function beyond what is possible with straight floss strands.

Figure 11 illustrates schematically and on an en¬ larged scale how the several strands are related at the braided regions and between those regions. The third strand is numbered 80 and it is divided into sub-strands 81 and 82 each of which is formed, beyond the common braided region 76, into single strand braids 84 and 86.

Although we have shown and described certain specific embodiments of our invention, we are fully aware that many modifications thereof are possible. Our inven- tion, therefore, is not to be restricted except insofar as is necessitated by the prior art.

Claims

The ClaimsWE CLAIM:
1. The method of producing a plurality of loops of dental floss interconnected in series which method comprises the steps of: arranging at least two strands of dental floss such that the strands are made to contact one another at spaced positions along their length; and interconnecting said strands at said spaced positions.
2. The invention defined in Claim 1 in which said strands are held separated one from the other adjacent to said spaced positions at at least one side thereof at the time of interconnection such that said strands tend to separate at said one side of said spaced positions, respec¬ tively, in the relaxed condition of said loops.
3. The invention defined in Claim 2 in which said strands are held crossed at said spaced positions at the time of interconnection.
4. The invention defined in Claim 1 in which bonding is accomplished by reforming the strands inte¬ grally at the interconnection positions.
5. The invention defined in Claim 1 in which said strands are formed of a pliant material having little discernable resilience.
6. The invention defined in Claim 1 in which strands so interconnected are extended as a pair of sub- stantially parallel strands to form a length of dental floss capable of being cut into individual loops.
7. The invention defined in Claim 1 in which the interconnections formed at said spaced positions ex¬ tend over a length of the two strands sufficient to permit cutting of said strands at an intermediate point along said length whereby the strands remain interconnected in both directions from said intermediate point.
8. The invention defined in Claim 1 in which said spaced positions are spaced at least nine centimeters and not more than twenty centimeters apart along the length of said strands.
9. The invention defined in Claim 1 in which said strands are interconnected at spaced points such that each lies but a short distance from a closely adjacent next interconnection at one side along the length of said strands and at a long distance several times greater than said short distance from the next interconnection at the opposite side along the length of said strands whereby the spacing between interconnections along said lengths is alternately a short distance and a long distance.
10. The invention defined in Claim 9 in which said short distance is less than 2.5 cm in length and said long distance is not less than 9 cm.
11. An article of manufacture comprising a closed loop of dental floss.
12. The invention defined in Claim 11 in which the circumference of said loop is not less than eighteen centimeters nor more than forty centimeters.
13. The invention defined in Claim 11 which further comprises a plurality of such closed loops inter¬ connected in series such that each is connected at sub- stantially diametric points to its adjacent loops.
14. The invention defined in Claim 2 in which said loops are formed such that the material of the loop at one side of its point of connection to an adjacent loop tends to separate, when relaxed, from the material of said loop at the other side of said connection point.
15. The invention defined in Claim 11 in which said loop comprises a pair of strands extending in like direction and being joined at spaced interconnection posi¬ tions along their length.
16. The invention defined in Claim 15 in which said strands are connected together at closely spaced points at each interconnection position whereby adjacent loops may be separated by severing said strands between said closely spaced points.
____OM
17. The invention defined in Claim 16 in which the connection between said strands is continuous in the region between said spaced points.
18. The invention defined in Claim 13 which further comprises means for providing a visual indicator of the position of the interconnections between loops.
19. The invention defined in Claim 13 in which said loop includes an interconnecting position along its length at which one segment of said loop is interconnected with another section of said loop.
20. The invention defined in Claim 19 which comprises a plurality of such loops joined one to the other by a segment that may be severed without interrupting the continuity of the loops joined thereby.
21. The invention defined in Claim 11 which comprises at least two such loops interconnected in parallel.
22. The invention defined in Claim 21 in which said loops are formed as successive loops along the length of a strand of floss.
EAtT
OMPI
23. The invention defined in Claim 7 in which said strands are interconnected at said spaced positions b being braided together.
24. The invention defined in Claim 23 in which at least one strand is formed into a looped chain over its length between said spaced positions.
25. The invention defined in Claim 7 in which three strands of floss are braided together at said spaced positions and in which one of said strands is divided into two sub-strands in the region between said spaced position at least one of said sub-strands being looped to form a single strand braid.
PCT/US1980/001293 1979-10-05 1980-09-30 Dental floss loops and methods for producing them WO1981000959A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US8236879A true 1979-10-05 1979-10-05
US82368 1979-10-05

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AU64808/80A AU6480880A (en) 1979-10-05 1980-09-30 **

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO1981000959A1 true WO1981000959A1 (en) 1981-04-16

Family

ID=22170767

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/US1980/001293 WO1981000959A1 (en) 1979-10-05 1980-09-30 Dental floss loops and methods for producing them

Country Status (2)

Country Link
EP (1) EP0039356A1 (en)
WO (1) WO1981000959A1 (en)

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4836226A (en) * 1987-11-20 1989-06-06 Wolak Ronald G Endless article for cleaning teeth
US5086792A (en) * 1989-02-16 1992-02-11 Placontrol Corp. Dental floss loop devices, and methods of manufacture and packaging same
GB2349338A (en) * 1999-03-27 2000-11-01 Douglas Howard Miller Inter-dental cleaning devices
US6371133B1 (en) * 1996-05-01 2002-04-16 Loops, L.L.C. Variable-guage tooth-flossing loops

Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1570357A (en) * 1924-07-12 1926-01-19 William F Lawrenz Dental toothpick
US2180522A (en) * 1938-11-01 1939-11-21 Henne Isabelle Dental floss throw-away unit and method of making same
US3860013A (en) * 1971-07-06 1975-01-14 Henry P Czapor Dental strip
US3903601A (en) * 1974-07-11 1975-09-09 Modcom Inc Dispenser for orthodontic chain-formed intraoral devices

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1570357A (en) * 1924-07-12 1926-01-19 William F Lawrenz Dental toothpick
US2180522A (en) * 1938-11-01 1939-11-21 Henne Isabelle Dental floss throw-away unit and method of making same
US3860013A (en) * 1971-07-06 1975-01-14 Henry P Czapor Dental strip
US3903601A (en) * 1974-07-11 1975-09-09 Modcom Inc Dispenser for orthodontic chain-formed intraoral devices

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4836226A (en) * 1987-11-20 1989-06-06 Wolak Ronald G Endless article for cleaning teeth
US5086792A (en) * 1989-02-16 1992-02-11 Placontrol Corp. Dental floss loop devices, and methods of manufacture and packaging same
US6371133B1 (en) * 1996-05-01 2002-04-16 Loops, L.L.C. Variable-guage tooth-flossing loops
GB2349338A (en) * 1999-03-27 2000-11-01 Douglas Howard Miller Inter-dental cleaning devices

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
EP0039356A1 (en) 1981-11-11

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US3298507A (en) Disposable tooth cleaner
KR100545937B1 (en) The method of interdental cleaning utensils and interdental cleaning mechanism
EP1116478B1 (en) Dental floss article
CA2255693C (en) Interproximal floss brush
US3837351A (en) Interdental tooth cleaner and method for making same
US3474799A (en) Dental floss holder
US4326547A (en) Tooth probe device
EP0118852A2 (en) Toothbrush with curved bristles
US5406965A (en) Device and method for dental flossing
EP0131360A2 (en) Knitted gingival retraction cord
US4450849A (en) Dental physio-tape
KR970004201B1 (en) Oral hygiene device
US4050470A (en) Dental floss holder and applicator assembly
US2621663A (en) Permanently attaching commercial hair to live hair
US4006750A (en) Disposable flosser
US5946780A (en) Manufacture of bath ruffles or sponges
US5289834A (en) Ponytail tool
US3896824A (en) Teeth cleaning
US3560313A (en) Pom pon
KR20000068972A (en) Toothbrush
US3908677A (en) Dental floss holder
CA2033508A1 (en) Tooth cleaning strip
KR20110100324A (en) Toothbrush
WO1995024167A1 (en) Dental floss based on robust segmented elastomer
KR20010029485A (en) Device for cleaning within the oral cavity

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AK Designated states

Designated state(s): AU JP

AL Designated countries for regional patents

Designated state(s): AT CH DE FR GB LU NL SE