WO1997004685A1 - A dental care unit - Google Patents

A dental care unit Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1997004685A1
WO1997004685A1 PCT/IE1996/000050 IE9600050W WO9704685A1 WO 1997004685 A1 WO1997004685 A1 WO 1997004685A1 IE 9600050 W IE9600050 W IE 9600050W WO 9704685 A1 WO9704685 A1 WO 9704685A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
dental care
care unit
handle
brushing head
dental
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IE1996/000050
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Noel Hensey
Original Assignee
Noel Hensey
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 IES950576 priority Critical
Priority to IE950576 priority
Application filed by Noel Hensey filed Critical Noel Hensey
Publication of WO1997004685A1 publication Critical patent/WO1997004685A1/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B5/00Brush bodies; Handles integral with brushware
    • A46B5/0095Removable or interchangeable brush heads
    • 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
    • A46B17/00Accessories for brushes
    • A46B17/04Protective covers for the bristles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B17/00Accessories for brushes
    • A46B17/06Devices for cleaning brushes after use
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B7/00Bristle carriers arranged in the brush body
    • A46B7/04Bristle carriers arranged in the brush body interchangeably removable bristle carriers
    • A46B7/046Threaded or screw connections for bristle carriers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B2200/00Brushes characterized by their functions, uses or applications
    • A46B2200/10For human or animal care
    • A46B2200/1066Toothbrush for cleaning the teeth or dentures

Abstract

A dental care unit (50) comprises a tooth brushing head (2) mounted by a capping piece (3) on a hollow handle (51) with a thread (20) at one end. The tooth brushing head (2) has a shank (6) which engages a plug mounted within the capping piece (3) which has a threaded bore. A pin (9) mounted on the plug projects through a longitudinal slot (10) in the capping piece (3) to form stops for movement of the plug (7) within the bore. For storage, the tooth brushing head (2) is inserted into the hollow handle (51) and the threads (20) engage the threaded bore. To use the dental care unit the tooth brushing head (2) is withdrawn and the capping piece (3) reversed and its other end screwed onto the hollow handle (51). The handle (51) contains a sanitising agent such as a mouth rinse which kills bacteria on the brushing head (2) in the storage position. The dental care unit may include a dental floss dispenser.

Description

"A Dental Care Unit"

Introduction

The present invention relates to a dental care unit and in particular to a dental care unit of the type comprising a tooth brushing head and a handle for storage of the tooth brushing head. Such units are commonly called toothbrushes .

The term dental care accessories may include dentifrices, dental flossing equipment and other suitable accessories.

What is appreciated by most people and in particular by dentists today is that prevention is by far the best cure for dental decay. The importance therefore of good dental hygiene including the proper care of teeth by daily cleansing, particularly after each meal has long been recognised. Such ideal situations where a person always attends to their teeth during the day cannot be achieved by most people because the necessary toothbrushes and other dental accessories are not free to hand. There is a need for a comprehensive self-sanitizing dental care convenience kit.

Several inflammatory diseases are on the increase. Investigations into oral inflammatory diseases have shown that microorganisms were found to play an important etiologic role. Glass and Lare in a "toothbrush" study published in 1986 found that toothbrushes from both healthy and/or diseased patients had substantial numbers of pathogenic and opportunistic microorganisms. The microorganisms were not only those that produced oral diseases, but also those that produced respiratory, gastro-intestinal, cardio-vascular and kidney diseases (Glass R, Lare M: Toothbrush contamination: a potential health risk? Quintessence International, Volume 17, Number 1/1986, pages 39-42). In this study new toothbrushes directly from their packages were also studied with 80% of those from one company being contaminated with Staphylococcus epidermidis. Dr. Glass and others have shown that the storage of toothbrushes is one of the major sources of contaminant and toothbrush sanitation devices or other means are absolutely essentially. It was also clear that anaerobic microorganisms can infect toothbrushes and that under certain circumstances bacteria and yeast can actually proliferate. One of the worst environments was found to be the humid environment of the domestic bathroom.

Other tests were carried out to ascertain the bactericidal affects on microorganisms of various anti-infective agents such as mouthrinses. (Caudry S.D.; Klitorinos, A.; Chan, E.C.S.: Contaminated Toothbrushes and Their Disinfection, Journal June 1995, Volume 61, No. 6, pages 511-513). This test was also carried out to test the efficacy of various commercially available mouthwashes such as those sold under Trade Marks PLAX, LISTERINE, VIRKON, CEPACOL and SCOPE. This test disclosed that mouthwashes sold under the Trade Marks VIRKON and LISTERINE killed all the test species on virtually all the toothbrush bristles. It was discovered that for example soaking a toothbrush head in mouthwash sold under the Trade Mark LISTERINE after brushing for as little as twenty minutes was sufficient to eliminate bacterial contamination.

The one conclusion that can be made with an certitude from these studies is that the toothbrush is a major cause of repeated infections of the mouth and that further bacteremias as a consequence of daily brushing is a recognised cause of endocarditis. Various pocket or portable dental care units have been proposed to overcome the problem of facilitating brushing, however, in use such units have major sanitary and hygiene problems. In dealing with such units the fact that portability is of importance has not been entirely recognised by those proposing such units. What is needed is a dental care unit that somebody can carry around with them during the day and while they may indeed use it in the comfort of their home, the primary consideration is that of portability and efficiency in use outside the home. For example, US Patent Specification 4,919,156 discloses in combination a dental device which has a fountain pen type housing for a toothbrush, refillable toothpaste cartridge, a dental floss dispenser and cutter and a retractable gum stimulator. This specification shows that the dental fixtures and supplies may be replaceable whereby the housing may be reusable. Indeed this U.S. Specification No. 4,919,156 discloses a useful device, however the major problem with it is the need to ensure that all the enclosures and the device itself are sterile or at least kept free of major bacterial infection. Generally speaking this specification discloses a complex construction which would be difficult to use and possibly difficult to manufacture.

U.S. Patent Specification No. 3,782,397 discloses a toothbrush, one end of which has a handle with a brushing head as is conventional and at the opposite end a dental floss dispenser. Unfortunately, while this on the face of it is a relatively simple and efficient combined flossing device and toothbrush, it has sever drawbacks in that the brushing head is not protected from environmental or ambient contamination. A somewhat similar dental care unit is described and claimed in U.S. Patent Specification No. 2,601,244 which clearly recognises the need for dental care which cannot be given by most individuals since the necessary implements such as the toothbrush and accessory used by such individual are not ordinarily carried about by the individual or otherwise are not conveniently available or accessible throughout the day. Thus, the specification proposes a teeth cleaning assembly in which a replaceable toothbrush with the necessary compliment of dentifrice supported by a dentifrice carrier housed within a sealed compartment in the handle section of the unit. The dentifrice carrier includes a dental floss compartment from which dental floss may be dispensed. While an attempt is made to produce a more sanitary dental unit by the provision of a cover section for the brushing head, it doesn't achieve its desired object.

Finally, U.S. Patent Specification No. 4,821,752 is a better example of the more modern approach used to the problem. In this approach, generally speaking, the problem of hygiene has been ignored or is addressed by providing an oral hygiene instrument that can economically incorporate replaceable brush elements and dental filaments. This U.S. Patent Specification proposes a personal oral hygiene instrument that could economically incorporate replaceability of brush elements and dental filaments into a hand held, permanent instrument which its suggested would find ready acceptance from general consumers and dental hygienists. Undoubtedly this goes some way to addressing the problem, but does not address the main problem of hygiene. There is no guarantee whatsoever that even with a relatively frequent replacing of brush elements, that acceptable hygiene levels will be achieved.

As discussed in U.S. Patent Specification No. 5,003,658 as man travels more, there develops a need for "travelling toothbrushes" and that one of the earlier accessories for the travelling toothbrush was a vented case into which the toothbrush could be placed. The vented case provided two functions, the case kept the wet bristles away from surrounding objects while allowing the brush to dry avoiding mould and mildew. As mentioned in this patent specification another approach to isolate the wet

"travelling toothbrush" has been provided by the toothbrush sold under the Trade Mark "Oral-B". This brush has a two-piece handle, a first piece has a vented cavity, while the second piece has a brush end. When the toothbrush is in use, the first piece attaches to the second piece and extends the handle. When stored the brush end is placed in the hollow vented cavity of the first piece.

In U.S. Patent Specification No. 5,003,658 it was suggested that the problem was what to do with the toothbrush in the travelling toothbrush. This patent specification illustrated a folding toothbrush in which the head or bristle-containing portion of the toothbrush folded into a cavity which could be sealed to limit exposure to infectious diseases which it was suggested could be carried by prolonged exposure of air with retained saliva on the bristles of the brush. It will be appreciated from the discussion already given that this is not by any means a satisfactory solution to the problem.

Another form of travelling toothbrush, again which doesn't address the problem is disclosed in U.S. Patent Specification No. 5,304,009, which travelling toothbrush envisages the carrying of mouthwash in the handle of the toothbrush.

Most toothbrush sanitising devices are provided for home use. Such as, for example, those utilising ultra violet light. Some of these have been found to be particularly effective in use. A typical example of such UV sanitation device is disclosed in U.S. Patent Specification No. 4,973,847. A particularly useful construction of such a UV sanitation device is sold under the Trade Mark POLNENEX DS60 which is sold as a daily dental sanitiser for home use.

U.S. Patent Specification No. 4,995,509 discloses another construction of sanitising device for home use. This is simply a removable storage receptacle which contains a liquid disinfectant and bristles arranged to contact and clean the body portion and bristles of a toothbrush during insertion and removal of the toothbrush therefrom. Again such a device would be useful in sanitising a toothbrush which was used and stored in the one place.

There are some conclusions that can be arrived at from reading all the literature and the prior patent specifications, namely, that the problem of hygiene is beginning to be appreciated and that the problem of hygiene has been successfully attacked and considered in certain instances in relation to toothbrushes that are stored and used in the one place. However, heretofore nobody has considered sanitising individual toothbrushes, whether they be toothbrushes that are generally in the one place as is the normal domestic use or that are what termed felicitously in one of the above patent specification as "travelling toothbrushes".

The present invention is directed towards overcoming these problems in the known constructions of such dental care units. The principal problem which needs to be addressed is the storing of the brushing head between uses in such a manner as to prevent infection. Statements of Invention

According to the invention there is provided a dental care unit comprising:-

a tooth brushing head;

a hollow handle;

the tooth brushing head being releasably engagable with the handle to receive the brushing head in storage and to support the brushing head in use; and

means for sanitising the tooth brushing head when stored in the hollow handle.

It will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that this greatly increases the chances that the brushing head will not be contaminated either due to environmental causes or from bacteria picked up during a previous use namely human contamination. This is an innovative concept, namely the combatting of bacteria accumulation and microbiological contamination as a matter of routine during use.

Ideally, the means for sanitising the tooth brushing head comprises a sanitising agent such as a dental treatment solution for example, a mouth rinse. By providing such a sanitising agent, the user has the advantage of being able to use a cleaning and oral hygiene solution, while at the same time that solution doubles up as a protector of the brushing head during use. This avoids the necessity of providing in many instances a separate storage compartment for a dentifrice though it is preferable, but not essential, to use a dentifrice. A construction such as this overcomes the major problem for a user who wishes to have available to them a compact and convenient unit that can be carried around with little difficulty. A low viscosity rinse is more long lasting than previously provided dentifrices. It is particularly advantageous in that the brushing head will only lift the required amount of rinse, the greater the viscosity the more the brushing head lifts and the messier it is. Mouth rinse can be easily replenished from a storage jar of any proprietary brand.

A further embodiment of the invention provides a dental care unit in which the brushing head terminates in a shank which is housed by means of a carrier within a hollow capping piece, the capping piece having engagement means at both ends for engagement with the handle in storage and in use. Such an arrangement is relatively simple in that all that is required is to reverse the brushing head, placing the bristles within the handle. This, while a relatively simple and inexpensive construction, will not be sufficient in many instances.

Preferably the carrier provides a sealing means such as a sealing plug between the brushing head and the handle in storage and in use. Obviously this will be advantageous in preventing leakage of sanitising agent.

In a still further embodiment of the invention, the plug is axially movable within the bore of the capping piece and preferably between stops. This has the advantage of exposing additional thread or other engagement means for use within the capping piece and also for providing that when the brushing head is within the handle in the stored position that the plug forms a flush closure of the capping piece. The thread is kept dust and dirt-free. Further its telescopic feature provides a more compact device when stored and additional length in use. Ideally, the stops are provided by a pin mounted on the plug and projecting through a longitudinal slot in the capping piece. This is a simple and inexpensive way of manufacturing the plug and capping piece.

There is also provided a dental care unit which the capping piece comprises a threaded bore engagable at both ends with a threaded portion at one end of the handle. This is a particularly efficient and relatively inexpensive construction.

In another embodiment of the invention the capping piece incorporates a pocket clip. It will be easily appreciated that a pocket clip whether it be used in the breast pocket of a suit, a pocket of a ladies handbag or in a briefcase, etc. is advantageous .

Ideally the plug is manufactured from an elastic material to provide protection to a user's gums. Obviously the plug on which the shank of the brushing head is mounted will provide resilience so that an unexpected jar or jolt will be cushioned and further protect the gums and teeth of the user. The plug may also be made of a plastics material with suitable seals to provide the necessary sealing and flexibility. Additionally, the flexibility provided allows access to awkward parts of the user's mouth.

Ideally, the shank is removable from the plug. This allows the replacement of brushing heads relatively easily and inexpensively.

Ideally the plug is configured to accept a plurality of different constructions of brushing head. Thus, many manufacturer's brushing heads may be used as is required. Additionally the invention provides a dental care unit in which the hollow handle is divided intermediate its exterior by a partition wall into a storage portion for reception of the brushing head and a separate ancillary storage compartment. This has the advantage that, for example, sanitising agents in concentrated form such as tablets for use mixed with water and concentrated solutions of sanitising agents generally can be stored, thus allowing the frequent replenishment of the sanitising agent.

In another embodiment of the invention a non-return valve means is mounted in the partition wall and there is further provided means for delivering stored concentrated sanitising liquid agent from the ancillary storage compartment into the storage portion. The advantage of this is that there is no need to disconnect any portion of the toothbrush to replenish the sanitising agent.

In a still further embodiment of the invention the hollow handle is telescopic, extending between a nested storage position and an extended operating position. The advantage of this is that one can provide a shorter and neater "travelling toothbrush". It is also particularly advantageous where a separate ancillary storage compartment is used because such an ancillary storage compartment obviously takes up space and reduces effectively the length of the toothbrush in that a relatively smaller length of toothbrush head and its associated shank can be stored within the storage portion of the hollow handle. Thus, the overall length of the toothbrush when in its operative mode will be reduced once a separate ancillary storage compartment is provided. This modification overcomes this problem. Ideally when the handle is telescopic, it comprises an inner hollow cylindrical body member and a co-axial exterior sleeve longitudinally movable on the body member between an extended and a nested retracted position. This is a particularly simple and advantageous construction.

In a further embodiment of the invention, the dental care unit includes a dental care accessory such as a dental floss dispenser mounted within the hollow handle.

In a still further embodiment the dental floss dispenser engages the handle in an end to end configuration to form an extension thereof. It will be readily appreciated by anybody who requires efficient dental care that the ideal accessory to have after a toothbrush is dental floss . the present invention achieves this in a relatively simple and easy manner.

It is further envisaged that the dental accessory may be a dentifrice containing cartridge mounted to the housing such as within a separate compartment in the handle. This may be required by some who require more cleaning than would be provided by what can be carried within the hollow container adjacent the brushing head in storage.

Detailed Description

The invention will be more clearly understood from the following description of some embodiments of invention given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:-

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a dental care unit according to the invention in the storage position; Fig. 2 is an exploded view of the dental care unit of Fig. 1;

Fig. 3 is a perspective view of the dental care unit in the use position;

fig. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a capping piece and brushing head in accordance with the invention;

Fig. 5 is a perspective view of a dental floss dispenser;

Fig. 6. is an exploded perspective view of an alternative construction of the capping piece and brushing head according to the invention;

Fig. 7 is an end view in the direction of the arrows VII-VII of Fig. 6;

Fig. 8 is an exploded perspective view of a still further construction of capping piece and brushing head according to the invention;

Fig. 9 is an end view in the direction of the arrows IX-IX of Fig. 8;

Fig. 10 is a perspective view of a dental care unit according to another embodiment of the invention in the storage position;

Fig. 11 is an exploded view of the dental care unit of Fig. 10;

Fig. 12 is a perspective view of the dental care unit of Fig. 10 in the use position; Fig. 13 is a sectional view of portion of a hollow handle forming part of an alternative construction of dental care unit;

Fig. 14 is a view similar to Fig. 13 of a still further handle;

Fig. 15 is a perspective view of a construction of telescopic handle;

Fig. 16 is a sectional view of a portion of another hollow handle; and

Fig. 17 is an end view in the direction of the arrow A in Fig. 16.

Referring to the drawings and initially to Figs. 1 to 4 there is provided a dental care unit indicated generally by the reference numeral 1 and comprising a tooth brushing head 2 mounted by a capping piece 3 on a hollow handle 4. In this case a dental care accessory provided in this instance by a dental floss dispenser 5, is mounted in end to end configuration to in effect form an extension of the handle 4.

The tooth brushing head 2 has a shank 6 which engages a plug 7 (see Fig. 4) mounted within the capping piece 3 which has an interior threaded bore 8. A pin 9 mounted on the plug 7 projects through a longitudinal slot 10 in the capping piece 3 to form stops for the movement of the plug 7 within the bore 8. A pocket clip 15 is mounted on the capping piece 3. The handle 4 is a simple cylindrical tube having threads 20 adjacent one end thereof.

For storage the tooth brushing head 2 is inserted into the hollow handle 4 and the threads 20 engage the threaded bore 8 and as the capping piece 3 is screwed down on the threads 20, the plug 7 moves outwards so as to form a smooth closure of the capping piece 3 as can be seen in Figs. 1 and 2. The dental floss dispenser 5 is then fitted onto the end of the hollow handle 4.

To use the dental care unit 1, the capping piece 3 is unscrewed and the tooth brushing head 2 withdrawn from the hollow handle 4. The capping piece 3 is reversed and screwed onto the threads 20. As it is screwed onto the threads 20, the plug 7 is pushed forward as illustrated in Fig. 3.

Referring to Fig. 5 the dental floss dispenser 5 comprises a cylindrical body member 25 having a lid assembly 26 and a base 27 which is of slightly reduced diameter sufficient to engage the base 27 within the handle 4. The lid assembly 26 is a force-fit on the body member 25 and contains a conventional spool of floss 29. The spool of floss 29 is mounted in the body member 25. Thus, in use when it is desired to replace floss, it is merely necessary to replace the spool. Large quantities of floss, up to fifty yards may be provided.

Ideally when the dental floss dispenser uses a spool of floss the spool is of the centre pull variety. Thus, when the floss is drawn from the centre of the spool it remains stationary and this is advantageous.

Referring to Figs. 6 and 7 there is illustrated an alternative construction of capping piece in which parts similar to those described with reference to the previous drawings are identified by the same reference numerals. A capping piece 30 is provided with a plug 31 having a socket 32 for reception of a lug 33 on a shank 34 of a brushing head 35. It will be seen immediately that the brushing head 35 can be easily replaced in the plug 31. This is particularly important in the treatment of certain mouth infections where the brushing head should be replaced at regular and short time intervals.

Referring to Figs. 8 and 9 there is illustrated a still further alternative construction of capping piece and brushing head in which parts similar to those described with reference to Figs. 6 and 7 are identified by the same reference numerals. In this embodiment, there is provided a brushing head 40 with a cranked shaft 41 and thus the socket 32 is in a different position on the plug 31.

Referring to Figs. 10 and 12 there is illustrated another dental care unit 50 according to the invention. The dental care unit 50 is similar to the dental care unit described above with reference to Figs. 1 to 4 and like parts are assigned the same reference numerals. In this case, the dental care unit does not include a dental accessory in the form of a dental floss dispenser. There is provided a hollow handle 51 closed at its end 52. It will be noted that in this case the handle 51 and shank 6 of the brushing head 2 are lengthened so that in use the overall length of the dental care unit is approximately the length of a standard tooth brush.

Further with the present invention casual malicious damage is less likely.

Further, while in the embodiments described above the brushing head has been illustrated mounted on the hollow handle by means of a capping piece, the use of a capping piece is not essential and the shank of the tooth brushing head could terminate in a plug engagable with one end of the handle. The plug may be a force fit or engage an interior thread in the handle.

It is envisaged that the plug will be manufactured as described above from an elastics material to provide some shock absorbency and thus to prevent damage to a user's teeth or gums in the event of a mishap. The plug may also be provided from a moulded plastics material, in which case, the necessary seals will have to be provided. It is also envisaged that the plug will be so configured as to accept a plurality of different constructions of brushing head. Normal sized brushing heads may be used and this is a considerable advantage over known constructions.

Referring to Fig. 13 there is shown portion of an alternative construction of hollow handle 60 divided intermediate its exterior bore, by a partition wall 61 into a storage portion 62 for a brushing head and separate ancillary storage compartment 63. The ancillary storage compartment 63 is closed by a screw or cap 64 and can be used to store dentifrice, sterilising liquid, sterilising tablets that can be mixed with water to provide a sterilising solution, or any other ancillary dental care accessory.

As mentioned above, it is envisaged that the hollow handle will be provided with a partition wall intermediate its ends to seal the handle into two separate units. It is further envisaged that the storage portion formed which will house the brushing head when not in use will as before be filled with an antibacterial agent, a dental treatment solution or indeed a composite mouth rinse and toothpaste. The advantage of this is that the brushing head will be contained within a sterile medium except when being used. Thus, instead of the dental floss dispenser other auxiliary dental care accessories may be provided such as for example a tube of dentifrice, either mounted in a container somewhat similar to that used for the dental floss dispenser or alternatively within the hollow handle itself. Further, in the embodiment described with reference to Figs. 1 to 3 the dental floss dispenser has been shown as engaging the handle in an end to end configuration. It will be readily appreciated that the dental floss dispenser may also be housed totally or partially within the handle.

Referring to Fig. 14 there is illustrated a still further construction of hollow handle 70 having an internal partition wall 71, again dividing as in the previous embodiment the hollow handle 70 into a storage portion 72 for a brushing head and an ancillary storage compartment 73 for concentrated sanitising agent. A delivery nozzle 74 in the form of a non-return valve is provided in the partition wall 71. Further, the ancillary storage compartment 73 is provided with an internally threaded bore 75 housing a complementary threaded piston 76 carrying an external operating knob 77. In use, rotation of the knob 77 screws the piston 76 towards the delivery nozzle 74 and thus expels concentrated sanitising agent into the storage portion 72. Thus, the storage portion 72 can be emptied of sanitising agent, rinsed, and then filled with water and a portion of concentrated sanitising agent. Alternatively, instead of emptying the storage portion 72, the sanitising agent can be topped up after a number uses.

Referring to Fig. 15 there is illustrated an alternative construction of hollow handle 90 which hollow handle can be similar to any of the previous hollow handles in general construction except that it is now made telescopic by the provision of an external cylindrical sleeve 91 mounted by means of a pair of upstanding pins 92 projecting through slots 93 in the wall of the sleeve 91. It will be appreciated that by simple manipulation of the sleeve 91 on the hollow handle 90 the sleeve 91 can be pivoted outwards to an extended position. This will be particularly advantageous where the storage portion of the hollow handle is relatively short. It will also further reduce the length of the toothbrush and will facilitate its carrying and in particular will provide an extremely efficient construction of "travelling toothbrush".

Referring to Figs. 16 and 17 there is illustrated a hollow handle 100 of substantially the same construction as any of the previous handles described above. A combined spill inhibitor and excess liquid remover is provided by a disc 101 of flexible material mounted adjacent the open mouth of the hollow handle 100. The disc 101 is split by a number of radial cuts 102. In use, a brushing head may be inserted into the hollow handle 100 and when removed some sanitising agent will be wiped off. Further the disc 101 will inhibit spillage if the handle 100 is shaken or knocked sideways.

It is envisaged that a suitable shaping of the brushing head and shank would facilitate run-off of liquid.

It is important to appreciate that the use of the hollow handle for the dual purpose of forming the actual toothbrush and the sanitising liquid reservoir is all ifmportant.

The following is an example of one test carried out Example

Six volunteer healthy males between 22 and 48 years were recruited. None suffered from current oral disease. They were requested to rinse their toothbrush, which had been stored in air for at least 12 hours in 25ml distilled water in a sterile container (Pre-treatment) . They were then instructed to wash their teeth and store their toothbrush in 25ml "Actibrush" (Colgate Palmolive Ltd. U.K.) antibacterial mouthwash overnight. The toothbrushes were rinsed in cold tap water to remove any residual mouthwash in the morning. They were then rinsed in 25ml distilled water in a sterile container (Post-treatment).

The water samples were tested for TVC at 22°C and 37°C according to the method No.: 9215C (Spread Plate Method for Heterotrophic Plate Count) in Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Waster Water, 1989 17th Ed. APHS- AWWA-WPCF.

The following Table summarises the statistical analysis employed using the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test and it can be seen that the total viable bacterial count at both 22°C and 37°C are significantly reduced following storage of the toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash (p<0.05).

Table

TEST PRE-TREATMENT POST-TREATMENT FACTOR (Mean CFUxlO4 (Mean CFUxlO* /ml ± SEM) /ml ± SEM)

TVC θ 22°C 105 . 9 ± 47 . 40 1 . 79 ± 0 . 80* 59 TVC @ 37°C 177 . 9 + 79 . 12 1 . 07 ± 0 . 34* 166

p < 0 . 05 ( Pre-versus Post-treatment ) The results suggest that storing toothbrushes in antibacterial agents significantly reduce bacterial contamination compared to storing them in air and reinforce the results of the previously referred to studies which it could be said almost suggest that conventionally used toothbrushes are major sources of disease.

In sanitising mode, the brush, which has a full sized conventional head, is immersed in and stored between uses in mouth rinse such as that sold under the Trade Mark Listerine, the latter contained in a moulded plastic arrangement comprising a coupling sleeve with a moulded rubber piston located inside it to which the brush neck is attached. The sleeve is screwed onto the chamber, the pressure causing the piston to come in contact with the rim of the chamber thus forming a seal.

Sanitising ensures that bacteria from previous brushings are not reintroduced into the mouth. It also serves to protect the brush against contamination by bacteria of environmental origin. Infection, - capable of being caused as a result of repeated use of contaminated brushes - is therefore prevented.

The brush chamber may, as described above, be connected to a chamber of similar diameter but shorter length in which the floss spool, which is of the centre pull variety i.e. the floss is drawn from the centre while the spool remains stationary, is housed. The opposite end of the latter chamber is sealed by means of a moulded cylindrical plastic plug which has attached to it, by means of an integral hinge, a cap (similar to that on a tooth paste tube), which covers a cavity in the plug in which is housed a floss cutting blade. In application mode the brush is external to the sanitising chamber and connected to it by the opposite end of the sleeve to that employed in sanitising mode. In this mode the housing serves as a handle from which the neck and brush head extend, rendering the unit similar in length to a conventional brush.

The brush emerges from the chamber laden with mouth rinse which can be either applied directly to the teeth or overlaid with tooth paste before doing so. The former is a convenient means of freshening the mouth and protecting the teeth and gums on occasions when tooth paste is not readily available, like for example when travelling. The latter combines the advantages of brushing with tooth past with those associated with the use of mouth rinse. The brush/piston sub assembly is connected to the sleeve by means of a pin which is inserted through a slot in the sleeve through a hole in the piston and a matching one in the brush shank. This has been described above.

In the process of assembling into sanitizing mode the screwing of the sleeve onto the chamber causes the chamber to move the piston relative to the sleeve until the coupling pin reaches the end of the slot. In this position the end of the piston is past the thread used for coupling in application mode, and forms a domed top to the unit as opposed to the concave one that would be present if the piston was fixed integral part of the coupling sleeve. This device therefore eliminates the need to clean the thread as would arise if the top of the unit were concave.

In application mode it serves to extend the neck of the brush which would otherwise be shorter by the length of the threaded area, rendering it more practical from an ergonomic standpoint.

The advantages of the invention may be simply summarised as:

(1) Primarily sanitises brush between uses, thereby preventing pathogenic microorganisms from being reintroduced into the mouth.

(2) More effective in terms of cleaning and plaque prevention than conventional approaches because it may combine, in a single unit, the advantages of brushing and flossing with sustained protection.

(3) Can be carried on the person or in a purse/handbag or brief case as conveniently as a pen.

(4) Provides protection against accidental and malicious contamination such as could conceivably be inflicted on a regular tooth brush stored conventionally in, for example, a hotel room.

(5) The rubber piston, being flexible, serves to facilitate brushing difficult-to-access parts of the mouth with ergonomic ease. Its flexibility also serves to protect the gums from stabbing injury such as can occur when brushing vigorously using a traditional, rigid, brush. It is thus particularly advantageous for use when travelling on aeroplanes, trains, buses, etc.

(6) Versatility is a major factor in that the hollow handle may contain:

regular mouth rinse; a "complete" dentifrice combining the dual advantages of regular dentifrice with those of a rinse; and

a complete antiviral and anti-microbial solution.

Also the hollow handle can be left empty, merely serving as a protective cap for the brush, while still providing as good protection as more convention "travelling toothbrushes".

(7) The ancillary storage compartment may contain: one or more of floss, tooth picks, a tube of dentifrice, sanitising agents or other dental aids .

Independence of the brush and ancillary storage compartment permits, for example substitution of a blow moulded bottle containing dentifrice gel for the compartment, possibly threaded against the hollow handle in some way.

(8) Replacement of brushing head, floss, rinse, or other dental aid is simple.

(9) The hollow handle has a curved surface which gives the bristles an upright habit i.e. prevents them from spreading outwards, thus improving the brushing heads effectiveness and prolonging its life.

While to a certain extent the discussion above in relation to the present invention has been directed, though not exclusively, to "travelling toothbrushes", it should be appreciated that the present invention is also directed towards toothbrushes and dental care units that are used mainly in the home. The advantage of the present invention is that it is much less trouble to use than the more conventional sanitising units for home use as have been described and discussed already in this specification. It should be appreciated that no attempt whatsoever is being made to limit the application of the present invention to such "travelling toothbrushes". It is the provision of an efficient form of such a toothbrush to which this invention relates.

Finally, in considering the present invention it is important to emphasise that heretofore in spite of the ample evidence available that those skilled in the art did not heretofore propose a solution to the problems of contaminated toothbrushes on the lines described in this specification, at one level it is relatively simple to appreciate and at another it can be said to be revolutionary and will change significantly the way all toothbrushes are made and not just "travelling toothbrushes" .

The invention is not limited to the embodiments hereinbefore described, which may be varied in both construction and detail.

Claims

1. A dental care unit comprising:-
a tooth brushing head;
a hollow handle;
the tooth brushing head being releasably engagable with the handle to receive the brushing head in storage and to support the brushing head in use; and
means for sanitising the tooth brushing head when stored in the hollow handle.
2. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein the means for sanitising the tooth brushing head comprises a sanitising agent in the handle.
3. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 1 or 2 wherein the brushing head terminates in a shank which is housed by means of a carrier within a hollow capping piece, the capping piece having engagement means at both ends for engagement with the handle in storage and in use.
4. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 3 wherein the carrier provides a sealing means between the brushing head and the handle in storage and in use.
5. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 3 or 4 wherein the carrier comprises a sealing plug.
6. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 5 wherein the plug is axially movable within the bore of the capping piece.
7. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 6 wherein the plug is axially movable between storage and use positions defined by stops.
8. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 7 wherein the stops are provided by a pin mounted on the plug and projecting through a longitudinal slot in the capping piece.
9. A dental care unit as claimed in any of claims 5 to
8 wherein the plug is of an elastic material.
10. A dental care unit as claimed in any of claims 3 to
9 wherein the capping piece comprises a threaded bore engagable at both ends with a threaded portion at one end of the handle.
11. A dental care unit as claimed in any of claims 4 to
10 wherein the capping piece incorporates a pocket clip.
12. A dental care unit as claimed in any of claims 3 to
11 wherein the shank is removable from the carrier.
13. A dental care unit as claimed in any of claims 3 to
12 wherein the carrier is configured to accept a plurality of different constructions of brushing head.
14. A dental care unit as claimed in any preceding claim in which the hollow handle is divided intermediate its exterior by a partition wall into a storage portion for reception of the brushing head and a separate ancillary storage compartment.
15. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 14 in which the ancillary storage compartment is for a sanitising agent in concentrated form.
16. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 14 or 15 in which a non-return valve means is mounted in the partition wall and in which there is provided means for delivering stored concentrated sanitising liquid agent from the ancillary storage compartment into the storage portion.
17. A dental care unit as claimed in any preceding claim in which the hollow handle is telescopic, extending between a nested position and an extended operating position.
18. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 17 in which the handle comprises an inner hollow cylindrical body member and a co-axial exterior sleeve longitudinally movable on the body member between an extended and a retracted nested position.
19. A dental care unit as claimed in any preceding claim including a dental care accessory.
20. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 19 wherein the dental care accessory is a dental floss dispenser mounted to the handle.
21. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 20 wherein the dental floss dispenser engages the handle in an end to end configuration to form an extension thereof.
22. A dental care unit as claimed in any of claims 19 to 21 wherein the dental care accessory is a dentifrice containing cartridge mounted to the handle.
23. A dental care unit as claimed in claim 22 wherein the cartridge is mounted within a separate compartment of the handle.
24. A dental care unit substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
PCT/IE1996/000050 1995-07-27 1996-07-26 A dental care unit WO1997004685A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
IES950576 1995-07-27
IE950576 1995-07-27

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB9801454A GB2320181A (en) 1995-07-27 1996-07-26 A dental care unit
AU67092/96A AU6709296A (en) 1995-07-27 1996-07-26 A dental care unit
EP19960927181 EP0955831A1 (en) 1995-07-27 1996-07-26 A dental care unit

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO1997004685A1 true WO1997004685A1 (en) 1997-02-13

Family

ID=11040835

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/IE1996/000050 WO1997004685A1 (en) 1995-07-27 1996-07-26 A dental care unit

Country Status (4)

Country Link
EP (1) EP0955831A1 (en)
AU (1) AU6709296A (en)
GB (1) GB2320181A (en)
WO (1) WO1997004685A1 (en)

Cited By (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2318284A (en) * 1996-10-17 1998-04-22 Alan Joseph Pooley Toothbrush
FR2780254A1 (en) * 1998-06-30 1999-12-31 Josiane Charriere Francy Disposable travel toothbrush
WO2001062121A1 (en) * 2000-02-24 2001-08-30 Haerdner Per Tooth brush with protecting cap containing dental floss and tooth stick
DE10026869A1 (en) * 2000-06-03 2001-12-06 Andreas Wuensch Bristle straightener for brooms, scrubbing brushes and toothbrushes comprises clip whose arms fit over bristles and hold them in parallel position and which is fastened to head
WO2006063423A1 (en) * 2004-12-17 2006-06-22 Antonio Carlos Gomes Toothbrush with dental floss and toothpaste
WO2009032410A1 (en) * 2007-09-04 2009-03-12 Colgate-Palmolive Company Dentifrice container with oral care implement holder
WO2018026444A1 (en) * 2016-08-03 2018-02-08 Mahawar Suresh Multi-functional oral care device

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GB267528A (en) * 1926-03-15 1927-08-04 John Rogers Merrill Pocket outfit for the care of the teeth
US2656843A (en) * 1949-02-09 1953-10-27 Boulicault Marcel Teeth cleaning unit
DE1931863A1 (en) * 1968-07-02 1970-02-26 Werding Winfried J Stielbuerste with capacities
GB1467913A (en) * 1975-12-15 1977-03-23 Halsey D Tooth brushes
FR2322567A1 (en) * 1975-09-04 1977-04-01 Fourny Yvette De Travelling tooth brush with reservoir for toothpaste - has plug with axial channel which prevents toothpaste escaping from holder
EP0042459A1 (en) * 1980-06-19 1981-12-30 Raymond Ernest Toothbrush with improved interproximal and free gingival margin accessibility
EP0051047A1 (en) * 1980-10-27 1982-05-05 Pio Russo A kit for cleaning the teeth with a toothbrush storable in the toothpaste holder
US4884688A (en) * 1988-04-11 1989-12-05 Hurst Joseph S Tooth brush case
FR2721485A1 (en) * 1994-06-24 1995-12-29 Gilbert Moreno Toothbrush with mirror on back of head

Patent Citations (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
BE348875A (en) *
GB267528A (en) * 1926-03-15 1927-08-04 John Rogers Merrill Pocket outfit for the care of the teeth
US2656843A (en) * 1949-02-09 1953-10-27 Boulicault Marcel Teeth cleaning unit
DE1931863A1 (en) * 1968-07-02 1970-02-26 Werding Winfried J Stielbuerste with capacities
FR2322567A1 (en) * 1975-09-04 1977-04-01 Fourny Yvette De Travelling tooth brush with reservoir for toothpaste - has plug with axial channel which prevents toothpaste escaping from holder
GB1467913A (en) * 1975-12-15 1977-03-23 Halsey D Tooth brushes
EP0042459A1 (en) * 1980-06-19 1981-12-30 Raymond Ernest Toothbrush with improved interproximal and free gingival margin accessibility
EP0051047A1 (en) * 1980-10-27 1982-05-05 Pio Russo A kit for cleaning the teeth with a toothbrush storable in the toothpaste holder
US4884688A (en) * 1988-04-11 1989-12-05 Hurst Joseph S Tooth brush case
FR2721485A1 (en) * 1994-06-24 1995-12-29 Gilbert Moreno Toothbrush with mirror on back of head

Cited By (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2318284A (en) * 1996-10-17 1998-04-22 Alan Joseph Pooley Toothbrush
FR2780254A1 (en) * 1998-06-30 1999-12-31 Josiane Charriere Francy Disposable travel toothbrush
WO2001062121A1 (en) * 2000-02-24 2001-08-30 Haerdner Per Tooth brush with protecting cap containing dental floss and tooth stick
DE10026869A1 (en) * 2000-06-03 2001-12-06 Andreas Wuensch Bristle straightener for brooms, scrubbing brushes and toothbrushes comprises clip whose arms fit over bristles and hold them in parallel position and which is fastened to head
WO2006063423A1 (en) * 2004-12-17 2006-06-22 Antonio Carlos Gomes Toothbrush with dental floss and toothpaste
WO2009032410A1 (en) * 2007-09-04 2009-03-12 Colgate-Palmolive Company Dentifrice container with oral care implement holder
US8523472B2 (en) 2007-09-04 2013-09-03 Colgate-Palmolive Company Dentifrice container with oral care implement holder
WO2018026444A1 (en) * 2016-08-03 2018-02-08 Mahawar Suresh Multi-functional oral care device

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
AU6709296A (en) 1997-02-26
EP0955831A1 (en) 1999-11-17
GB9801454D0 (en) 1998-03-18
GB2320181A (en) 1998-06-17

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