WO2004028293A1 - Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning - Google Patents

Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2004028293A1
WO2004028293A1 PCT/US2003/030635 US0330635W WO2004028293A1 WO 2004028293 A1 WO2004028293 A1 WO 2004028293A1 US 0330635 W US0330635 W US 0330635W WO 2004028293 A1 WO2004028293 A1 WO 2004028293A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
carrier
powered toothbrush
head
member
defined
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2003/030635
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Henry S. Goldfine
John J. Gatzemeyer
Eduardo Jimenez
Eyal Eliav
Original Assignee
Colgate-Palmolive Company
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 US10/260,669 priority Critical
Priority to US10/260,620 priority
Priority to US10/260,585 priority
Priority to US10/260,584 priority patent/US6966093B2/en
Priority to US10/260,620 priority patent/US7430776B2/en
Priority to US10/260,585 priority patent/US7140058B2/en
Priority to US10/260,669 priority patent/US20040060137A1/en
Priority to US10/260,584 priority
Application filed by Colgate-Palmolive Company filed Critical Colgate-Palmolive Company
Publication of WO2004028293A1 publication Critical patent/WO2004028293A1/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/16Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices
    • A61C17/22Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like
    • A61C17/222Brush body details, e.g. the shape thereof or connection to handle
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B15/00Other brushes; Brushes with additional arrangements
    • A46B15/0002Arrangements for enhancing monitoring or controlling the brushing process
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B15/00Other brushes; Brushes with additional arrangements
    • A46B15/0002Arrangements for enhancing monitoring or controlling the brushing process
    • A46B15/0016Arrangements for enhancing monitoring or controlling the brushing process with enhancing means
    • A46B15/0032Arrangements for enhancing monitoring or controlling the brushing process with enhancing means with protrusion for polishing teeth
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/16Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices
    • A61C17/22Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like
    • A61C17/32Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating
    • A61C17/34Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating driven by electric motor
    • A61C17/349Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating driven by electric motor with multiple brush bodies
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B13/00Brushes with driven brush bodies or carriers
    • A46B13/008Disc-shaped brush bodies
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/16Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices
    • A61C17/22Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like
    • A61C17/32Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating
    • A61C17/34Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating driven by electric motor
    • A61C17/3409Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating driven by electric motor characterized by the movement of the brush body
    • A61C17/3436Rotation around the axis perpendicular to the plane defined by the bristle holder
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/16Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices
    • A61C17/22Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like
    • A61C17/32Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating
    • A61C17/34Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating driven by electric motor
    • A61C17/3409Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating driven by electric motor characterized by the movement of the brush body
    • A61C17/3472Power-driven cleaning or polishing devices with brushes, cushions, cups, or the like reciprocating or oscillating driven by electric motor characterized by the movement of the brush body with combined movements of the brush body

Abstract

A powered toothbrush (100) containing two movable carriers (183, 133) having tooth care elements 185, 186) extending therefrom, which carriers move in distinctly different ways so as to enhance the cleaning, polishing, whitening and stimulation to the teeth and gums provided by the subject toothbrush.

Description

TOOTHBRUSH WITH ENHANCED CLEANING

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to powered toothbrushes, and more particularly, to a toothbrush having a head with two distinct moving sections with each section providing oral health benefits to the user.

2. Discussion of Related Art

Toothbrushes provide many oral hygiene benefits. For example, toothbrushes remove plaque and food debris to help avoid tooth decay and disease. They remove stained pellicle from the surface of each tooth to help whiten the teeth. Also, the bristles combined with the brushing motion massage the gingival tissue for stimulation and increased health of the tissue.

Powered toothbrushes have been available for some time. Powered toothbrushes have advantages over manual (non-powered) toothbrushes in that they impart movement to the bristles at much higher speeds than possible manually. They also may impart different types and directions of motion. These motions, generally in combination with manual movement of the toothbrush by the user, provide superior cleaning than manual toothbrushes. Typically, powered toothbrushes are powered by disposable or rechargeable batteries that power an electric motor that in turn drives the toothbrush head. Known powered toothbrushes include a brush head with a bristle carrier portion that rotates, oscillates or vibrates in some manner so as to clean the teeth. The bristles, which typically comprise bristle tufts, are generally uniform with one end fixed into the bristle carrier portion and the other end free to contact the surface of the teeth while brushing. The free ends of the various tufts present a surface envelope that is capable of some deformation when the bristles bend. When in contact with the surface to be brushed, the bristles may deform so that the surface envelope tends to conform to the complex surface of the teeth. Human teeth generally lie in a "C" shaped curve within the upper and lower jaws, and each row of teeth consequently has a convex outer curve and a concave inner curve. Individual teeth often have extremely complex surfaces, with areas that may be flat, concave, or convex. The more precise conformation between the bristles and the tooth surface, the more effective the toothbrush may be in cleaning, whitening and/or stimulating. Known powered toothbrushes typically arrange the bristles in a compact conical or cylindrical pattern on a generally circular, disk-shaped bristle carrier. The powered toothbrush heads are traditionally compact, generally oval in shape and the heads are produced with a flat trimmed bristle pattern. Alternatively, other head shapes and bristle patterns are available.

One example of a powered toothbrush is depicted in U.S. Patent 5,625,916 to McDougall, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The toothbrush shown in McDougall has a disc-shaped bristle carrier. The bristle carrier, and thus the bristles, are driven in a vibrating or oscillating manner. This type of toothbrush is described herein with reference to Figures lA-lC. A toothbrush 5 includes a handle portion 10 at a proximal end of the toothbrush 5 and a head 11 at a distal end of toothbrush 5. Handle portion 10 has compartments for containing a powered motor 14 and batteries 15 and 16. Head 11 includes a generally circular bristle holder (carrier) 13. A rotatable shaft 12 extends from motor 14 to head 11. A shaft coupling 17 may be located along shaft 12 and configured to provide for shaft 12 to be separated at a point between motor 14 and head 11. This permits the shaft to be removed from toothbrush 5, e.g., for cleaning, servicing, or replacement.

Head 11 includes a post 18 that provides a rotational pivot axis for bristle holder 13 containing bristle tufts 19. The distal end of shaft 12 has a journal or offset 20 that is radially displaced from the longitudinal axis of shaft 12, which may be integrally formed therewith. Bristle holder 13 has a slot 22 that receives offset 20. Offset 20 and slot 22 are configured so as to be oriented toward the intersection of shaft 12 axis and the longitudinal axis of post 18. When motor 14 rotates shaft 12, the motion of offset 20 defines a circle about shaft 12 axis and drivingly engages slot 22 such that bristle holder 13 vibrates or oscillates about post 18 axis through a rotational angle A. The rotational angle A is defined by the displacement of offset 20 from shaft 12 axis relative to the diameter of bristle holder 13.

Although powered toothbrushes such as those described immediately above provide advantages over manual toothbrushes, they are subject to various limitations. Providing a rotating or oscillating bristle holder (carrier) with a typical oblong or oval toothbrush head constrains the size of the moving bristle holder, and consequently the area of bristles available for teeth cleaning. Also, when the bristles are placed in contact with the teeth during brushing, there is less bristle contact with adjacent areas, such as the gums. Thus, while these compact bristle patterns provide for cleaning, there is minimal whitening and stimulation.

One attempt to overcome the limitations associated with a small powered bristle area is shown in U.S. Patent No. 6,000,083 to Blaustein et al. The toothbrush in Blaustein et al. has a bristle area and pattern similar to a manual toothbrush, but an area of the bristles has simply been replaced by a powered bristle section. The result is that the head has a powered or moving bristle section and static bristle section. The limitation of Blaustein et al. is that the static bristle section provides no better cleaning, whitening or stimulation than a manual toothbrush. International Application No. PCT EP01/07615 of Braun GmbH discloses a powered toothbrush with two separate bristle parts that can move. Each bristle part can have a different range and/or type of motion. However, only one bristle part is powered. The other unpowered bristle part moves due to a resonance effect imparted by the frequency of the movement of the first bristle part. This free resonance causes a number of difficulties. First, because any contact between the bristle parts will dampen or cancel any resonance of the unpowered bristle part, the unpowered bristle part "floats" separately from the powered bristle part. This necessitates separation or gaps between them. These gaps expose the internal workings of the head to foreign matter such as water, saliva, toothpaste, and food particles. This foreign matter may interfere with the workings of the unpowered bristle head. For example, the unpowered bristle part is spring-loaded to assist its resonance. Foreign matter may accumulate on or around the spring, interfering with its function. In addition, food particles may remain in the head and may fester and host microorganisms, which are undesirable if not potentially harmful when introduced directly into the mouth. Another limitation of such a design is that movement of the unpowered bristle part may be damped by contact with the teeth, or lessened when the frequency of the powered part shifts from the resonance frequency. This can occur due to pressure imparted against the powered bristle part by the teeth or gums during brushing. Finally, the energy imparted to the unpowered bristle part is only a portion of the energy input into the powered part. Therefore, the unpowered bristle part is less effective in cleaning than the powered part, limiting the overall effectiveness of the toothbrush.

Thus, there is a need in the art for a powered toothbrush with increased effectiveness through a larger area of powered or driven bristles or bristles that are otherwise movable. There is also a need for a toothbrush having increased whitening and/or stimulation than known toothbrushes. There is further a need for such improved toothbrushes to be comparable in manufacturing and purchasing costs as known powered toothbrushes. OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which avoids the aforementioned deficiencies and limitation of the known related art.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which enhances the cleaning effectiveness of the toothbrush head. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which enhances the whitening effectiveness of the toothbrush head.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which enhances the stimulating effectiveness of the toothbrush head.

It is yet still a further object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which includes two separate, movable bristle sections or tuft blocks adapted to have a number of bristles or elastomeric cleaning members or a combination thereof extending therefrom to contact surfaces of the teeth and surrounding areas.

It is yet still a further object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which includes a powered, rotationally-oscillating first bristle section and a second movable bristle section that includes an elastomeric platform that is operatively fixedly mounted on at least one portion thereof to the head and is selectively engaged by the first carrier to provide movement.

It is yet still a further object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which includes a powered, rotationally-oscillating first bristle section and a second movable bristle section in the form of an elastomeric shock-absorbing member that is operatively mounted to the head and includes a number of bristle tufts, elastomeric cleaning members, or combination thereof extending outwardly therefrom.

It is yet still a further object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which includes a powered, rotationally-oscillating first bristle section and a second movable bristle section pivotally connected to the first bristle section and pivotally connected to the brush section.

It is yet still a further object of the present invention to provide a powered toothbrush which includes a powered, rotationally-oscillating first bristle section and a second movable bristle section that is pivotally connected to the first bristle section and pivotally connected to the brush section, and that is capable of movement in a second a second degree of motion.

Various other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become readily apparent from the ensuing detailed description and the novel features will be particularly pointed out in the appended claims

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A powered toothbrush is provided and includes a handle portion at a proximal end and a head at a distal end with a neck being formed between the handle portion and the head. According to one embodiment, the head has two distinct movable parts that provide oral health benefits since each part is adapted to have a number of bristles, elastomeric cleaning members or a combination thereof extending therefrom to contact surfaces of the teeth and surrounding areas. The toothbrush has a drive mechanism that imparts movement to one of the movable parts to deliver a cleaning, polishing, whitening action that supplements the cleaning efficiency of a typical powered toothbrush.

In another embodiment, the first movable head part is a first bristle carrier that supports a number of bristle tufts, elastomeric cleaning members, or a combination thereof. The first bristle carrier is operatively mounted to the head and is coupled to the drive mechanism such that the first bristle carrier oscillates back and forth in a direction about a center point of the first bristle carrier. Preferably, the oscillating first bristle carrier is moved back and forth in a rotational direction. The second movable part is a second bristle carrier in the form of an elastomeric "shock-absorbing" member that is operatively mounted to the head and includes a number of bristle tufts, elastomeric cleaning members, or combination thereof extending outwardly therefrom. During a brushing action, forces are applied against the second carrier and the elastomeric nature of the second bristle carrier causes the carrier to move in a substantially up and down manner to deliver additional oral health benefits including enhanced cleaning, tooth polishing and/or tooth whitening.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the head includes two distinct movable parts that each and together provide oral health benefits, each being adapted to have a number of bristles or elastomeric cleaning members or a combination thereof extending therefrom adapted to contact surfaces of one or more teeth and surrounding areas. The powered toothbrush is further formed with a drive mechanism that imparts movement to the first movable part to deliver a cleaning, polishing, whitening action that supplements the cleaning efficiency of a typical powered toothbrush. The first movable part in turn imparts movement to the second movable part.

In another embodiment, the first movable head part is a first bristle carrier that supports a number of bristle tufts, elastomeric cleaning members, or a combination thereof. The first bristle carrier is operatively mounted to the head and is coupled to the drive mechanism such that the first bristle carrier oscillates back and forth in a direction parallel to toothbrush head. Preferably, the oscillating first bristle carrier is moved back and forth in a rotational direction. The second movable part is formed as a second carrier that includes an elastomeric platform that is operatively fixedly mounted at at least one portion thereof to the head and is selectively engaged by the first carrier to provide movement. The second carrier thus oscillates and translates in a direction parallel and longitudinal to the head, thereby providing a moving head section in addition to the oscillating section that is formed by the first bristle carrier. In yet another embodiment, the present invention includes a powered toothbrush having at least two moving bristle fields in a brush section to provide increased moving bristle area and improved cleaning, polishing, whitening, massaging and stimulating of teeth and gums. The first bristle field includes a plurality of bristles attached to a first bristle carrier that is powered and driven in an oscillating rotational manner through a prescribed angle. The second bristle field includes a plurality of bristles attached to a second bristle carrier. The second bristle carrier is pivotally connected to the first bristle carrier and also pivotally connected to the brush section. The second bristle carrier is otherwise free from the brush section. The bristles in both the first and second bristle field may by any type of elastomeric or non-elastomeric bristles or any combination thereof. In yet another embodiment, the oscillating motion of the first bristle carrier imparts an according oscillating motion to the second bristle carrier such that the first and second bristle fields oscillate in a sectorial motion. The connections between the second bristle carrier and the first bristle carrier and the brush section may be sufficiently flexible or otherwise configured so that they permit adequate pivoting of the second bristle carrier relative thereto. The second bristle carrier may be suspended from the brush section to avoid frictional contact therewith. Curtains or walls extending from the brush section to the second bristle carrier may be included to help prevent any debris, toothpaste or other objects from entering any gap therebetween. The second bristle carrier may also be oscillatingly driven in a second degree of motion in addition to sectorial motion to provide additional bristle movement and effectiveness. This motion may be equal to, or a multiple of, the frequency of oscillation of the first bristle carrier and the sectorial motion of the second bristle carrier, or may comprise a complex oscillatory motion.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the foregoing detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

The invention accordingly comprises the several steps and the relation of one or more of such steps with respect to each of the others, and the apparatus embodying features of construction, combination(s) of elements and arrangement of parts that are adapted to effect such steps, all as exemplified in the following detailed disclosure, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES For a more complete understanding of the invention, reference is made to the following description and accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1A is a front cross-sectional view of a conventional powered toothbrush including a head;

Figure IB is a partial side cross-sectional view of the toothbrush head of Figure 1A; Figure 1C is a partial front cross-sectional view of the toothbrush head of Figure

1A;

Figure 2 is a front and side perspective view of a powered toothbrush according to embodiment of the invention showing a toothbrush head having distinct first and second movable carrier sections constructed in accordance with the invention; Figure 3 is a front elevational view of the toothbrush head of Figure 2 according to one embodiment of the invention;

Figure 4 is a side elevational view of the toothbrush head of Figure 2 according to one embodiment of the invention;

Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 5-5 of Figure 3; Figure 6 is a front and side perspective view of a powered toothbrush head according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention showing a toothbrush head having distinct first and second movable carrier sections constructed in accordance with the invention; Figure 7 is front elevational view of a toothbrush head according to another exemplary embodiment constructed in accordance with the invention;

Figure 8 is a side elevational view of the toothbrush head of Figure 7;

Figure 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 9-9 of Figure 7 with parts broken away to illustrate an elastomeric carrier in a relaxed condition;

Figure 10 is a side elevational view with parts broken away to illustrate the elastomeric carrier of Figure 9 in a depressed condition;

Figure 11 is a front elevational view of the elastomeric carrier of Figure 10 in the depressed condition; Figure 12 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 12-12 of Figure 10;

Figure 13 is a perspective view of an elastomeric tooth care element having a first configuration and adapted for use in the toothbrush head constructed in accordance with the invention;

Figure 14 is a perspective view of an elastomeric tooth care element having a second configuration and adapted for use in the toothbrush head constructed in accordance with the invention;

Figure 15 is a perspective view of an elastomeric tooth care element having a third configuration and adapted for use in the toothbrush head constructed in accordance with the invention; Figure 16 is a perspective view of an elastomeric tooth care element having a fourth configuration and adapted for use in the toothbrush head constructed in accordance with the invention; and

Figure 17 is a perspective view of an elastomeric tooth care element having a fifth configuration and adapted for use in the toothbrush head constructed in accordance with the invention.

Figure 18 is a front and side perspective view of a powered toothbrush head according to another embodiment of a powered toothbrush constructed in accordance with the invention;

Figure 19 is a front and side perspective exploded view of the powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 18;

Figure 20 is a front and side perspective cutaway view of the powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 18; Figures 21 A-21C are front views of the powered toothbrush head of Figure 18 in various positions generated when in motion;

Figure 22 is a front and side perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2; Figure 23 is a front and side perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2;

Figure 24 is a front and side perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2;

Figure 25 is a front and side perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2;

Figure 26 is a front and side perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2;

Figure 27 is a front and side perspective exploded view of the embodiment of the powered toothbrush head of Figure 26 of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2; Figures 28A-28C are front views of the powered toothbrush head of Figure 26 in various positions generated when in motion;

Figure 29 is a front and side perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2;

Figure 30 is a front and side perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2;

Figures 31A-31C are front views of the powered toothbrush head of Figure 30 in various positions generated when in motion;

Figure 32 is a front and side exploded cut-away perspective view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2; Figure 33 is a front and side perspective exploded view of another embodiment of a powered toothbrush head of the powered toothbrush of Figure 2;

Figure 34 is a front elevational view of a preferred embodiment of a toothbrush head to be used in conjunction with the toothbrush of Fig. 2;

Figure 35 is a side elevational view of the toothbrush head of Figure 34; Figure 36 is a front elevational view of the toothbrush head of Figure 34 during an operational mode thereof;

Figure 37 is a side partially broken away view of another preferred embodiment of a toothbrush head in accordance with the teachings of the present invention; Figure 38 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 12-12 of Figure 37;

Figure 39 is a side partially broken away view of the toothbrush head of Figure 37 to illustrate the toothbrush head during an operational mode thereof;

Figure 40 is a front elevational view of yet another preferred embodiment of a toothbrush head in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

Figure 41 is a side elevational view of the toothbrush head of Figure 40; and

Figure 42 is a front elevational view of the toothbrush head of Figure 40 during an operational mode thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring first to Figure 2 in which an exemplary powered toothbrush according to a first embodiment is illustrated and generally indicated at 100. Toothbrush 100 includes a handle 102 at a proximal end thereof that defines an interior compartment (not illustrated) for housing various toothbrush components, and a brush section 104 that is defined by a neck 106 that terminates in a head 120 at a distal end of toothbrush 100. Handle 102 has a free proximal end 108 and an opposite end 110. Neck 106 generally extends from a first end 112 to a second end 114 with the first end 112 being located at end 110 of handle 102 and second end 114 being located at head 120. In other words, neck 106 is the portion of toothbrush 100 that extends between handle 102 and head 120. Neck 106 also defines an interior compartment (not illustrated) for housing various working components of toothbrush 100. Head 120 is preferably generally aligned with the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush 100.

According to one embodiment, neck 106 and handle 102 may be constructed as a unitary member by forming neck 106 integral to handle 102 at the end 110 of handle 102. In another embodiment, neck 106 is detachable from handle 102 at end 110. In accordance with this detachable embodiment, combined neck 106 and head 120 can be removed from handle 102 to permit cleaning, servicing and/or interchanging of either handle 102 or combined neck 106 and head 120 (brush section 104). Further, brush section 104 may be detachably connected to the handle 102 at a location along the toothbrush. Those skilled in the art will appreciate the various manners in which this may be accomplished, e.g., friction fit, threaded connection, interlocking or bayonet fitting, etc. For example, when neck 106 is formed to be detachable from handle 102, first neck end 112 preferably includes a connector linkage (not illustrated) that is adapted to be detachably joined to handle 102 using traditional techniques. It will also be appreciated that the point of detachment can also be between head 120 and neck 106 such that head 120 is of a refill head type.

It will further be appreciated that the illustrated shapes of the handle 102, neck 106 and brush section 104 are merely exemplary in nature and handle 102, neck 106 and/or brush section 104 can be formed to have any number of shapes. The shapes of handle 102, brush section 104 and neck 106 may be of an aesthetic and/or ergonomic design such that toothbrush 100 may be easily and comfortably gripped and manipulated by the user. The handle 102 may include slightly recessed finger sections 118a, 118b that are formed on opposite sides of the handle 102. One recessed finger section 118a may be designed to generally accommodate a thumb of one hand and other recessed finger sections 118b may be designed to generally accommodate one or more other fingers of the same hand, thereby assist the user in proper placement and secure grip of toothbrush 100 in the user's hand. One or more of the recessed finger sections 118 may include ribs or other types of roughened surfaces to further assist gripping by the user. Such surfaces having acceptable frictional characteristics, e.g., rubber, are generally known in the art.

The toothbrush 100 according to the various embodiments disclosed herein, can be made from any number of materials that are suitable for use in oral care products. For example, many of the components that are included in toothbrush 100 are preferably formed from plastic materials. Accordingly, the handle 102, brush section 104 and/or head 120 may be molded from polyolefins such as polypropylenes and polyethylenes, polyamids such as nylons, and polyesters such as polyethylene terephthalate. Other suitable materials include polymethylmetllacrylate, styrene acroylonitrate and cellulose esters, for example cellulose propionate, natural rubber and synthetic rubbers, and other materials known in the art.

Referring next to Figures 3-5 an additional embodiment of the powered tooth brush is shown. The head 120 of the toothbrush 100 includes a head base 160 that at least partially defines an inner compartment 121 of the head 120. Head base 160 may be configured so that the distal end of the toothbrush 100 has a generally rounded shape for the comfort of the user during brushing.

The head 120 also includes a first movable bristle carrier 180, which in a preferred embodiment is located at or near the outer most distal portion of head 120 as illustrated. Alternatively, the first bristle carrier 180 may be located at any location on the head 120. First bristle carrier 180 is preferably configured such that it may be at least partially rotatable around an axis. In such embodiments, the first bristle carrier 180 may move in an oscillating or vibrating rotational manner. For example, the first bristle carrier 180 may have an identical or similar construction to the bristle holder 13 illustrated in Figures 1 A-IC. In such embodiments, the first movable bristle carrier 180 may be a circular disk. It will be appreciated that the first movable bristle carrier 180 is not limited to having a disk shape and may have any number of different shapes, e.g., oval, regular or irregular shapes, so long as the first bristle carrier 180 may oscillate in a rotational or vibrating manner. A circular disk shape is preferable since it requires the least amount of clearance to accommodate the oscillating movement.

A plurality of tooth care elements 152 are coupled to and extend outwardly from first movable bristle carrier 180 in a direction substantially perpendicular to a plane defined by a face of first movable bristle carrier 180. As used herein, the term "tooth care elements" includes any type of structure that is commonly used or is suitable for use in providing oral health benefits (e.g., tooth cleaning, tooth polishing, tooth whitening, etc.) by making intimate contact with surfaces of the teeth and surrounding areas. Such tooth care elements include but are not limited to tufts of bristles that can be formed to have a number of different shapes and sizes, and/or various elastomeric members (see Figures 13- 17) that can be formed to have a number of different shapes and sizes, or a combination of both. Bristle tufts arranged on first bristle carrier 180 are only one exemplary configuration and it will be understood that other bristle configurations (such as stapled, IMT, etc.) can be used. Bristle tufts may all be formed of the same or different bristle materials (such as nylon bristles, spiral bristles, rubber bristles, etc.) Moreover, while the tooth care elements can be arranged so that they are generally perpendicular to the face of first bristle carrier 180 (as noted above), some or all of the tooth care elements can be angled at various angles with respect to first bristle carrier 180 as desired. When first bristle carrier 180 includes bristle tufts, it is thereby possible to select the combination of bristles configurations, bristle lengths, bristle materials and bristle orientations to achieve specific intended results, such as to create as much movement from the moving tuft heads to deliver additional oral health benefits such as enhanced cleaning, tooth polishing and/or tooth whitening.

While first bristle carrier 180 has been defined as a movable bristle carrier 180, it will be understood that first movable carrier 180 is not limited to having only tufts of bristles as a part thereof. Instead, first movable carrier 180 is to be broadly considered as being a carrier for any number of suitable tooth care elements 152 or any number of combinations of different types of tooth care elements 152. For example, first movable carrier 180 may include a number of elastomeric members to provide the desired oral health benefits. The elastomeric members may be attached to first movable carrier 180 using conventional techniques, including integrally forming the elastomeric members with an upper surface of carrier 180. Tooth care elements 152 provided as part of first movable carrier 180 can thus be entirely of one type (e.g., bristle tufts or elastomeric members) or can be formed according to a mixed arrangement. For example, the first bristle carrier 180 preferably includes a first plurality of bristles, as tooth care elements 152, coupled to and extending generally outwardly from the first bristle carrier 180. As used herein, the term "bristle" or "bristles" includes any type of structure that is suitable for providing oral health benefits (e.g., tooth cleaning, tooth polishing, tooth whitening, massaging, stimulating, etc.) during contact with surfaces of the teeth and gums. The bristles preferably have a degree of flexibility so as to bend during brushing thus allowing the bristles to conform to the surface and contours of the teeth and gums, thereby increasing bristle contact with the teeth and gum for improved effectiveness.

The bristles may be composed of various materials including non-elastomeric materials or elastomeric materials. As used herein, the term "elastomeric" means that the material undergoes a relatively greater elongation under tensile force or stress, wherein the term "non-elastomeric" means that the material has a relatively lesser elongation under tensile force or stress. Examples of suitable generally non-elastomeric materials include, but are not limited to, polyamides such as nylon or polyesters such as polybutylene terephthalate. Examples of suitable generally elastomeric materials include, but are not limited to, rubbers (synthetic or natural) and block copolymers such as, e.g., styrenes (for example styrene ethylene butadiene styrene, or styrene butadiene styrene), polyolefins (for example polypropylene/ethylene propylene diamine modified systems (i.e. synthetic rubber)), polyamides (for example polyamide (2 or polyamide 6), polyesters (for example polyester ester or polyether ester), polyurethanes (for example polyesterurethane, polyetherurethane or polyesteretherurethane). For either non-elastomeric or elastomeric bristles, it is generally desirable that such materials are formed in a manner such that they are non-plastic and generally return to their original shape and size after brushing forces are removed.

Non-elastomeric bristles may be coupled to the head 120, e.g., the first bristle carrier 180, in the form of tufts. The bristles and/or tufts may be coupled by various means, such as stapling, may be molded (IMT) onto the head 120 during fabrication, or by other known means. Elastomeric bristles may be fabricated by known processes, such as molding, and coupled to the head by known means.

Although as shown in the Figures, tooth care elements 152 have particular sizes, shapes, amounts, lengths, configurations, materials and/or combinations thereof, it should be appreciated that this is merely illustrative and that the tooth care element, e.g., bristles, may be of any size, shape, amount, length, configuration, material and/or combination thereof suitable for oral hygiene to achieve specific results or operational characteristics of the bristles. By way of example, the bristles may be of different (non-uniform) lengths to form a particular surface envelope shape for improved effectiveness. For example, first movable carrier 180 may include bristle tufts having a first height as well as bristle tufts having a different height. This may also be done to accommodate differences between toothbrush users, including mouth size, teeth shape and contour, tooth and gum sensitivity, eating and other oral habits (e. g., smoking), and personal preferences.

One desired characteristic of certain elastomeric toothcare elements 152 is the capability to be fabricated into various configurations. Figures 13-17 illustrate various exemplary elastomeric members that may serve as tooth care elements 152. Figure 13 shows an elastomeric tooth care element in the form of a thin spike; Figure 14 shows an elastomeric tooth care element in the form of a barrel spike; Figure 15 shows an elastomeric tooth care element in the form of a squeegee point; Figure 16 shows an elastomeric tooth care element in the form of an angled point; and Figure 17 shows an elastomeric tooth care element in the form of a section of an elastomeric wall. The elastomeric wall of Figure 17 may be formed with a linear, planar shape, a zigzag shape, a serpentine shape, etc. In many contemplated embodiments, the elastomeric tooth care elements, e.g. bristles, may be formed having smooth textures or can have rough surfaces. In addition, the wall sections of the elastomeric tooth care elements may be vertically straight, taper inward toward one end or expand toward one end. The tops of the elastomeric tooth care walls may have a planar surface or have a protrusion (i.e., hump) or the like formed thereat. While the above describes various configurations of elastomeric tooth care elements, those skilled in the at will recognize virtually any configuration may be achieved.

For purpose of illustration only, first movable carrier 180 will be described as containing a predetermined number of bristle tufts; however the following features apply equally to the situation where first movable carrier 180 is formed entirely or partly of elastomeric members.

First movable bristle carrier 180 is constructed so as to pivotally rotate about a center point thereof, thereby effectuating movement of the bristle tufts and/or elastomeric members that extend outwardly from first movable bristle carrier 180, or from the plane defined by the face positioned perpendicular to the direction of the oscillation of first movable bristle carrier 180. The movement of first movable bristle carrier 180 is preferably an oscillation type movement as first movable bristle carrier 180 pivots about a post at a center point thereof (see Figure 1). First movable bristle carrier 180 is formed with a slot or opening (not illustrated). This slot is preferably identical to or substantially similar to slot 22 illustrated in figures lA-lC. Preferably, slot 22 is formed at a peripheral edge of first movable bristle carrier 180 and extends along a substantial height of first movable bristle carrier 180. For example, slot 22 preferably does not extend to the upper surface of first bristle carrier 180 where the tooth care elements formed or are positioned. Instead, slot 22 preferably has a closed upper end to prevent foreign matter, such as saliva, toothpaste, foreign particles, etc., from entering slot 22 when the operator is performing a brushing operation. The opposite end of slot 22 that is located within the inner compartment 121 of head 120 can be open.

Toothbrush 100 includes a drive mechanism to effectuate movement of certain parts of toothbrush 100 and more specifically, for causing movement of at least first movable bristle carrier 180. One suitable drive mechanism is disclosed in U.S. Patent

5,625,916 to McDougall, which has been previously incorporated herein by reference and includes a rotating drive shaft 200 that extends at least through neck 106 (i.e., the inner compartment thereof)- As described above, such a mechanism may be used to impart motion to the first bristle carrier. Those skilled in the art, however, will appreciate that variations in the details of the illustrated mechanism may be implemented as long as it performs its intended function. Drive shaft 200 preferably has a construction identical to or similar to drive shaft 12 illustrated in Figures lA-lC. Drive shaft 200 has one end (not illustrated) that is operatively connected to a drive member (not illustrated), such as a motor or any other type of drive device, for imparting movement to first movable bristle carrier 180. Drive shaft 200 is formed with an opposing distal end (not illustrated) that is bent such that the end is not axially aligned with the longitudinal axis of drive shaft 200. This distal bent may be formed with a shape similar to end 20 illustrated in Figures 1A-1C or may be formed differently so long as it performs the intended function. In other words, the end is an offset crank end of drive shaft 200 and is configured to be received in slot 22 so that the 360° rotational movement of shaft 200 is transmitted into an oscillating back and forth rotational movement of first movable bristle carrier 180.

The drive mechanism for the powered toothbrush 100 may be any type of drive, e.g., a rotating drive, an oscillating drive, an eccentric drive, an unbalanced-generated drive, a drive having one more gearing mechanisms, or any other type of drive mechanism that is capable of performing the intended function. The drive mechanism may be realized in the form of an electric motor or other type of motor and the movement generated by the drive may be imparted to one or more sections of the head 120 or to other elements that may be present at the brush section 104. The movement may be imparted directly or indirectly. Those skilled in the art will appreciate various suitable mechanisms. The movement can be imparted directly through a driving axle, such as drive shaft 200 or it can be imparted through a driving post attached to the driving axle. When toothbrush 100 includes an oscillating drive mechanism either identical to or similar to the exemplary drive mechanism illustrated in Figures 1A through 1C, the interior compartment of handle 102 houses a motor operatively connected to drive shaft 200 and a source to power the motor, such as one or more batteries. When the drive mechanism is actuated and drive shaft 200 is rotated, the movement of the crank end imparts an oscillating back and forth movement of first movable bristle carrier 180 through an angle between about 10° to about 120° and in a preferred exemplary embodiment, the movement is through an angle between about 10° to about 30° and in a most preferred embodiment is through an angle between about 10° to about 15°.

With reference to Figure 3, toothbrush 100 further includes a second movable bristle carrier 210 that is operatively mounted on head 120. Second movable bristle carrier 210 may be formed of an elastomeric material and is generally formed in the form of a head section that has a range of movement when forces are applied to it during normal operation and/or normal use of toothbrush 100. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 has a first end 212 that is disposed in close proximate relation to the first bristle carrier 180 and an opposing second end 214 that is disposed at or near the proximal end of head 120. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 further includes a first side 216 and a second side 218 with a recessed section 220 being defined thereby between first and second ends 212, 214 and first and second sides 218, 220. Recessed section 220 defines a recessed compartment that has a floor 222.

According to one embodiment, elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 is supported only at first side 216 and second side 218, respectively, by head base 160 such that elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 extends across inner compartment 121 of head 120 and is formed as a substantially "floating" elastomeric platform. The attachment of elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 to head base 160 can be accomplished using conventional techniques, such as using an adhesive, providing a mechanical bond, or integrally attaching the two members during a molding operation. In one embodiment, the side walls of the head base 160 may be formed with cut-away portions (i.e., U-shaped in the illustrated embodiment) that receive the first and second sides 216, 218, which are formed as side walls that are received in the cut-away portions of head base 160, as best shown in Figure 4. Because first bristle carrier 180 is preferably formed in the shape of a disk, first end 212 is preferably formed with an arcuate shape to accommodate the oscillating back and forth rotational movement of first bristle carrier 180. Second end 214 may also be formed with an arcuate shape, as illustrated, or it may be formed with any other shape. Second end 214 preferably forms a butt joint with the distal end of neck 106, or second end 214 may be adapted to extend slightly over the distal end of neck 106 if additional support of second end 214 is desired. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 is also formed with a lower surface 215 that extends across inner compartment 121 of head 120. Lower surface 215 is therefore coupled to upper edges of the side walls of head base 160 in this region of head 120, thereby permitting shaft 200 to extend underneath lower surface 215 through inner compartment 121 to the slot in first carrier 180.

A bristle holder 230 is securely disposed within recessed section 220 defined by elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 and is designed to hold a number of tooth care elements 152, such as bristle tufts, elastomeric members or a combination thereof. Accordingly, the shapes of bristle holder 230 and the recessed section 220 must be complementary to one another. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the bristle holder 230 and the recessed section 220 has an annular shape; however, each can have any regular shape or irregular shape (e.g., square, oval, diamond, rectangle, etc.) Bristle holder 230 supports one or more, and preferably a plurality of, tooth care elements, generally illustrated at 250, which extend outwardly from a plane parallel to a face thereof. It will be appreciated that bristle holder 230 can hold any number of different types of tooth care elements and is not limited to merely support bristle tufts, since elastomeric members can equally be held by bristle holder 230 or be formed at part thereof. Bristle holder 230 is preferably a relatively rigid member that is formed of a suitable material, such as a plastic, that will provide the desired structural characteristics. However and according to an alternative embodiment, bristle holder 230 may be formed of an elastomeric material that can have a rigidity less than, equal to, or greater than the rigidity of the elastomeric material forming elastomeric second bristle carrier 210. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210, including the bristle holder 230, can be formed using conventional manufacturing methods. In one embodiment, elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 is formed around bristle holder 230 in a conventional molding process where bristle holder 230 is first positioned and properly located within a mold and then elastomeric material is injected around bristle holder 230 to thereby form the elastomeric portion of bristle carrier 210 around bristle holder 230.

Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 is preferably formed such that bristle holder 230 lies in a plane that is above head base 160, and more preferably above an upper surface of neck 106. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 therefore includes a built-up section (raised section) 225 above the upper surface of neck 106 which leads to an upper face 231 of bristle holder 230. In an exemplary embodiment, the built-up section includes a radial shoulder 237 that extends around bristle holder 230. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 thus ramps upwardly from the upper surface of neck 106 to upper face 231 and then carrier 210 ramps downwardly toward first bristle carrier 180. The recess 220 is preferably defined by raised section 225. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 also defines a cavity or a hollow channel

(e.g., a through hole) 240 extending from first side 216 to the second side 218 thereof. As best shown in the side elevation view of Figure 4 and the cross-sectional view of Figure 5, cavity 240 is defined underneath bristle holder 230, a top boundary of the cavity being defined by an amount of elastomeric material disposed adjacent the bottom surface of the bristle holder 230. Cavity 240 is also preferably positioned above the side walls of the head base 160 to permit cavity 240 to be free of all obstructions and permit the operator to see clearly through cavity 240. In another embodiment, cavity 240 does not have open ends; but rather, its sides are defined by an enclosed pocket underneath bristle holder 230; or it can be formed so that only one end is open. Optionally (as best illustrated in Figures 2 and 3), a second cavity or hollow channel (e.g., through hole) 240 is defined and extends longitudinally from first end 212 to the second end 214. In this embodiment, the two channels intersect in a central portion of second bristle carrier 210. It will be appreciated that the cavity 240 does not have to extend completely through second bristle carrier 210. Cavity 240 acts as a shock absorbing pocket and permits the elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 to move substantially vertically (up and down) when a force is applied to elastomeric second bristle carrier 210. More specifically, when a force is applied to an upper surface of carrier 210 (e.g., to upper face 231), elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 is compressed downward due to the deformation or partial collapse of carrier 210 about cavity 240.

Because of its elastomeric nature, second bristle carrier 210 is restored to its relaxed condition when the applied force is removed. In other words, once the applied force is removed, cavity 240 assumes its initial shape, thereby imparting shock absorbing characteristics to second bristle carrier 210. It will be appreciated that by altering the dimensions of cavity 240, the shock absorbing characteristics of second bristle carrier 210 can be varied. For example, as the dimensions of cavity 240 are increased, carrier 210 will deform more easily upon application of a force. This directly translates into added substantially vertical movement of elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 as the operator of toothbrush 100 brushes his or her teeth and the tooth care elements (bristles and/or elastomeric members) extending from bristle holder 230 contact teeth and surrounding areas. A normal brushing action will impart a number of forces at different angles against elastomeric second bristle carrier 210.

Moreover, the elastomeric characteristics of second bristle carrier 210 can be further altered by the definition of one or more apertures 250 in second bristle carrier 210 by bristle holder 230. The apertures serve to increase the resiliency of second bristle carrier 210 since the definition of apertures 250 results in removal of elastomeric material. In yet another embodiment, an upper section of second bristle carrier 210 defines a hollow, deformable dome-like structure. Bristle holder 230 defines an upper surface of the dome-like structure, and also defines at least one aperture therein to let air in and out of the cavity defined by bristle holder 230. Thus, when a force is applied to bristle holder 230, as during a brushing action, the dome-like structure at least partially collapses as air in the cavity is evacuated through the at least one aperture.

The elastic motion of elastomeric second bristle carrier 210 delivers additional oral health care benefits such as enhanced cleaning, tooth polishing, and/or tooth cleaning since second bristle carrier 210 has a number of tooth care elements extending therefrom for contacting the gingival surfaces during a brushing action. It will be understood that tooth care elements can be located in other areas besides bristle holder 230. For example, some tooth care elements can be attached to and extend upwardly from the top face of carrier 210 sunounding bristle holder 230.

Referring next to Figures 6-12, an elastomeric second bristle carrier according to another embodiment of the invention is illustrated and generally indicated at 300. In accordance with this embodiment, elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 does not include a bristle holder (such as bristle holder 230 of Figure 5). Rather, elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 is generally formed as a "floating" head section that has a range of movement when forces are applied to it during normal operation and/or normal use of toothbrush 100. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 is formed with a first end 302 that is disposed in close proximate relation to first bristle carrier 180 and an opposing second end 304 that is disposed at or near the proximal end of head 120. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 further includes a first side 306, an opposing second side 308, an upper surface 310 and a lower surface 312 that faces inner compartment 121. Upper surface 310 is preferably not a planar surface but rather is an arcuate surface (e.g., a convex shaped surface).

According to one embodiment, elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 is only supported at first side 306 and second side 308, respectively, by head base 160 such that elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 extends across and therefore defines an upper limit of inner compartment 121 of head 120 and is therefore formed substantially as a "floating" elastomeric platform. The attachment of elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 to head base 160 can be accomplished using conventional techniques, such as using an adhesive, providing a mechanical bond, or integrally attaching the two members during a molding operation. Because first bristle carrier 180 is formed preferably in the shape of a disk, first end 302 preferably is formed with an arcuate shape to accommodate the oscillating back and forth rotational movement of first bristle carrier 180. Second end 304 can also be formed with an arcuate shape, as illustrated, or it can be formed with any other shape. Second end 304 preferably forms a butt joint with the distal end of neck 106 or second end 304 can extend slightly over the distal end of neck 106 if additional support of second end 304 is desired. Lower surface 312 is therefore coupled to upper edges of the side walls of head base 160 in this region of head 120, thereby permitting shaft 200 to extend underneath lower surface 312 and through the inner compartment 121 to the slot in first bristle carrier 180. Second bristle carrier 300 defines an enlarged cavity, hollow channel (e.g., through hole) or pocket 320 that extends not only from side 306 to side 308 but it is also defined so that it extends substantially from the first end 302 to the second end 304. Cavity 320 is defined above the upper side edges of head base 160 that serve as points for attachment between head 120 and second bristle carrier 300. Second bristle carrier 300 is further formed with a weakened section incorporated therein to facilitate movement of second bristle carrier 300 upon application of a force to upper surface 310. For example, a longitudinal or transverse groove (i.e., a score) 330 may be defined in at least one of upper surface 310 and a surface 317 defining an upper limit of cavity 320. In the illustrated embodiment, a single groove 330 is formed across surface 317. Groove 330 forms a weakened section longitudinally within second bristle carrier 300 (a so called "living hinge" is formed). It will be appreciated that groove 330 can equally be formed longitudinal from first end 302 to second end 304.

The cross-section of Figure 9 illustrates second bristle carrier 300 in a relaxed condition prior to application of a force to upper surface 310. Figures 10-12 illustrate the second bristle carrier 300 in deformed condition after a force is applied to upper surface 310. When a force is applied to upper surface 310, upper surface 310 deforms about the living hinge created by one or more grooves 330. This results in upper surface 310 at least partially collapsing along the living hinge section. Tooth care elements 340 formed on upper surface 310 flex inwardly toward one another as a result of such deformation, as illustrated in Figure 10. Elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 can thus be thought of as a hinged block that has shock absorbing characteristics. When the applied force is removed, second bristle carrier 300 returns to its relaxed condition due to its elastomeric nature. Preferably, tooth care elements 340 that extend upwardly from upper surface 310 are a plurality of elastomeric members (such as those shown in Figures 13-17) that are formed integrally with elastomeric second bristle carrier 300. For example, tooth care elements 340 can be formed in the same molding operation that forms elastomeric second bristle carrier 300. Thus, while elastomeric second bristle carrier 300 is described as a bristle carrier, it will be understood that the carrier 300 does not necessarily include any bristle tufts.

It will also be appreciated that in any of the foregoing embodiments, the toothbrush head can have a number of static tooth care elements disposed thereat in a number of different locations.

Referring next to Figures 21A, 21B and 21C in addition to Figures 18-20 in yet another embodiment, toothbrush 100 (and head 140) includes a head base 161 that partially defines an inner compartment 125 of head 140, and a second movable bristle carrier 132 that is operatively mounted on head 140. Second movable bristle carrier 132 comprises a platform 134 having at first end 136, a second end 138, a first end midpoint 141, a second end midpoint 142, a midpoint 144, and a bottom 146. A protrusion 148 extends outwardly from platform 134 at first end 136 thereof and is received into recess 130 of first movable bristle carrier 181, thereby providing a link between first carrier 181 and second carrier 132. In a preferred embodiment, a feature, such as at least one leg 150 is formed integral with platform 134 and is adapted to be received by head base 161 to support platform 134. It will be understood that the at least one leg 150 can have a number of different shapes and broadly, any member that can act as a support member can be used to couple platform 134 to head base 161.

There are numerous portions of the present invention, that when changed in accordance with various embodiments of the invention, will change the type and range of motion of both first movable bristle carrier 181 and second movable bristle carrier 132. The movement of first movable bristle carrier 181 is outlined above and can be altered by varying the drive or transmission of the motion of that drive to first movable bristle carrier 181. These variations are well known in the art. Because movement of first movable bristle carrier 181 directly imparts movement to the platform 134 changes to the movement of first movable bristle carrier 181 will also change the movement of second movable bristle carrier 132. Additionally, changes in the structure and anchoring of second movable bristle carrier 132 can vary its movement as well. Various embodiments may be designed so that protrusion 148 of platform 134 is rigidly received in recess 130, or protrusion 148 may be frictionally received in recess 130.

Other changes to second movable bristle carrier may include that legs 150 and platform 134 may be formed from either a rigid or an elastomeric material. Different combinations of rigid or elastomeric legs 150 and platforms 134 will result in varied types and ranges of motion of platform 134. Another factor that will affect the type and range of the motion of platform 134 is the placement and number of the legs 150. In one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, illustrated in Figures 21A-21C, is included one leg 150 formed integral platform 134 at about the second end midpoint 142 thereof. The movement of first movable bristle carrier 181 imparts a torsional movement on leg 150, as shown by arrow B and rotates platform 134 as well as imparts a lateral shift of first end 136 of second movable bristle carrier 132 parallel to the first end 136.

In other embodiments of the present invention, a first leg 150 is formed integral with platform 134 at the first end midpoint 141 thereof and/or a second leg 150 is formed integral with platform 134 at second end midpoint 142, as illustrated in Figures 18 through 20. A leg 150 may also be formed integral with platform 134 at midpoint 144 thereof, alone or in combination with other legs 150, as illustrated in Figures 22 through 25.

Figures 18-25 also illustrate differing variations and combinations of tooth care elements 152 including bristles and elastomeric tooth care elements. Figures 18-20 illustrate second movable bristle carrier being formed with short elastomeric walls in varying sizes and placement. Figure 22 illustrates second movable bristle carrier 132 being formed with short elastomeric walls having a top surface thereof being cupped. Figure 23 illustrates second movable bristle carrier 132 being formed with short elastomeric walls being formed with an overhang. Figure 24 illustrates second movable bristle carrier 132 being formed with short elastomeric walls that are not all erected parallel, but lean or curve to one side. Referring next to Figure 25, the second movable bristle carrier 132 contains a combination of short elastomeric walls with humps and a lower bristle section. The above variations are for illustration purposes only and it is realized that any combination of tooth care elements may be employed.

Figures 26 through 28 illustrate an alternative embodiment of the invention utilizing head construction. Handle 102, neck 106, drive, and head base 161 may be formed similarly as described above. However in accordance with this embodiment of the invention first movable bristle carrier 181 is formed with one or more protrusions 202 directed toward platform 134 of second movable bristle carrier 132. Platform 134 is formed similarly as described above, and further includes one or more protrusion contact points 204. The movement of first movable bristle carrier 181 imparts movement of platform 134 through contact of protrusions 202 with protrusion contact points 204. Again, as above, the material of leg 150 and platform 134, as well as the location of leg 150 will change the type and range of motion of second movable bristle carrier 132. Figures 28A through 28C illustrate an example of the movement first movable bristle carrier 181 may impart on platform 134. As first movable bristle carrier 181 rotates along arrow C, platform 134 is imparted a lateral shift of first end 136 parallel to first end 136 as well as a rotational shift in the direction of arrow C. While Figures 26-28 illustrate protrusions 202 not being connected to platform 134, it is also contemplated that protrusions 202 may be connected to platform 134 at protrusion contact points 204. Figures 29 through 31 illustrate additional embodiments generating various movements. Figure 29 illustrates the movement of platform 134 when the leg 150 is located solely at the midpoint 144 of platform 134. Platform 134 will therefore rotate along arrow D, this will impart greater movement to second end 138 of platform. Figure 30 illustrates an embodiment where leg 150 is pivotally connected to base 161. This will again allow greater movement of second end 138. The above movements will be generated regardless of how the motion from first movable bristle carrier 181 is imparted to platform 134. Figures 31A-31C illustrate various positions generated during movement of the constructions illustrated in Figures 29 and 30. Both of these constructions include second movable bristle carriers that may rotate about the midpoint 144 thereof, resulting in an increase in the lateral movement of second end 138 of platform 134, as illustrated by arrow E, when first movable bristle carrier 181 oscillates across arrow F.

Figure 32 illustrates another exemplary head embodiment. Handle 102, neck 106, drive, and head base 161 may be the same as described above. A second movable bristle carrier 232 may be operatively connected to a second drive mechanism that will move second movable bristle carrier 232 in a third direction. The second drive feature may include at least one cam surface 400 that selectively contacts second movable bristle carrier 232 or platform 234 to cause movement, in one preferred embodiment, perpendicular to first movable bristle carrier 180 (in the direction indicated by arrow G). Figure 33 illustrates yet another embodiment wherein leg 150 may span from approximately second end 138 to approximately first end 136 of platform 134. This positioning of leg 150 may cause platform 134 to 'rock' back and forth across the longitudinal axis of toothbrush 100, in the directions indicated by arrows H. Leg 150 may also be attached to second movable bristle carrier 132 via a receiving groove 410.

Figures 36 and 37 illustrates yet another embodiment where first bristle carrier 183 may be adapted to be pivotally rotatable around an axis, thereby effectuating a rotational or circular movement of the bristles 185. In various embodiments, the first bristle carrier 183 may rotate around a post 190, although any suitable configuration that permits such movement may be used. The movement of the first bristle carrier 183 may be an oscillating or vibrational movement such that the first bristle carrier 183 first pivots about the post 190 in one direction through a range of motion and then pivots about the post 190 in the opposite direction through a range of motion.

In one embodiment, toothbrush 100 further includes a second movable bristle carrier 133, which may be formed from any suitable material or materials, e.g., elastomeric and/or non-elastomeric as described above. The second bristle carrier 133 has a first pivot 205 that is pivotally connected to the first bristle carrier 183 at a first pivot mount 207 and a second pivot 209 that is pivotally connected to the brush section 104 at a second pivot mount 211. The second bristle carrier 133 is freely movable from the brush section 104 other than at the first pivot 205 and the second pivot 209. The oscillation of the first bristle carrier 183 preferably causes second bristle carrier 133 to similarly oscillate, with second bristle carrier 133 pivoting about first pivot 205 relative to first bristle carrier 183 and also pivoting about second pivot 209 relative to the brush section 104. In this manner, second bristle carrier 133 moves through an angular range of motion similar to that of first bristle carrier 183. As the center of rotation of the second bristle carrier is the second pivot 209, the second bristle carrier 133 moves in a sectorial fashion.

The second bristle carrier 133 may reside in an indent 217 formed in the brush section 104 so that the second bristle carrier 133 is generally flush with or does not extend outwardly from the surface of the brush section 104 and/or the first bristle carrier 183. In such embodiments, the second bristle carrier 133 and the brush section 104 may be configured or shaped so that the second bristle carrier 133 does not impact the brush section 104 during oscillation. In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 34, the first and second pivot mounts 207, 211 comprise a notch in the first bristle carrier 183 and brush holder 104, respectively. The first and second pivots 205, 209 are adapted to engage into the first and second pivot mounts 207, 211 respectively, and preferably in a sufficiently secure manner so that the second bristle carrier 133 does not readily disengage from toothbrush 100 during brushing. This may be accomplished by various methods, for example, by force fit, friction fit, snap fit, etc. Although in the illustrated embodiment the pivots 205, 209 fit into notches 207, 211, respectively, it should be recognized that the pivots and pivot mounts may be of any engaging configuration. For example, the pivots may be connected to the pivot mounts by pins (not illustrated) or other connectors.

The pivots 205, 209 are preferably adapted so that the second bristle carrier 133 may pivot relative to the first bristle carrier 183 and the brush section 104. This may be accomplished by various constructions. For example, the pivots 205, 209 may be sufficiently flexible, e.g., an elastomeric or flexible non-elastomeric material, so that it flexes or bends relative to the first bristle carrier 180 or brush section 104. In such embodiments, each pivot acts as a "living hinge."

In other contemplated embodiments, the pivot itself need not be flexible if the pivot may rotate relative its respective pivot mount, such as in a "ball and socket" configuration. In another embodiment the pivot may be mounted to the pivot mount via a pin as discussed above. Those skilled in the art will recognize that there are other configurations that will achieve the intended function.

The second bristle carrier 133 includes a second plurality of bristles 186. The bristles 186 may be of any size, shape, amount, length, configuration, material and combinations thereof, as described previously regarding the first plurality of bristles 185. Accordingly, the written description above regarding the first plurality of bristles 185 is equally applicable to the second plurality of bristles 186, and is incorporated therefrom.

The sectorial oscillation of the second bristle carrier 133 moves the second plurality of bristles 186 in an accordingly sectorial oscillation. This oscillation, which in addition to the oscillation of the first plurality of bristles 185, provides additional powered bristle area and movement to clean, whiten and/or massage. In addition, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, in various embodiments the movement of the second plurality of bristles 186 differs from the movement of the first plurality of bristles 185, further enhancing the effectiveness of toothbrush 100 through the combination of movement.

It should be appreciated that the bristles may be incorporated into the second bristle carrier 133 in any number of manners regardless of the material from which the second bristle carrier 133 is formed. By way of example, if the second bristle carrier 133 is formed from elastomeric material, elastomeric bristles may be incorporated during molding thereof. However, non-elastomeric bristles may be incorporated by including one or more inserts (not illustrated) having such bristles as previously described. The inserts may, for example, include plastic inserts having tufts of non-elastomeric bristles attached thereto.

Conversely, if the second bristle carrier 133 is formed from non-elastomeric material, e.g., plastic, non-elastomeric bristles may be attached thereto as described above.

However, elastomeric bristles may be incorporated by including one or more inserts having elastomeric bristles in the second bristle carrier 133. Thus, the second bristle carrier 133 may include elastomeric bristles, non-elastomeric bristles, or any combination thereof. Those skilled in the art will recognize the multitude of possible bristle combinations and configurations.

In further embodiments such as the one illustrated in Figures 37-39, the second bristle carrier 133 may additionally move in a generally vertical direction, i.e., radially inward and outward relative to the longitudinal axis of the toothbrush. Driveshaft 330, which may be similar to shaft 12 shown in Figures 1A-1C, preferably has at least one cam, detent, journal or offset 340 integral therewith that is generally longitudinally aligned with the second bristle carrier. The offset 340 preferably extends radially from the longitudinal axis of the driveshaft 330 such that during rotation of the driveshaft 330 the offset 340 contacts the second bristle carrier 133. The contact between the offset 340 and the second bristle carrier 133 exerts a radial force against it, thereby moving the second bristle carrier

133 in a vertical or radial direction.

As the driveshaft 330 further rotates, the offset 340 ceases its contact with the second bristle carrier 133, thereby permitting the second bristle carrier 133 to return to its original position. In this manner, the second bristle carrier 133 oscillates vertically during powered operation of the toothbrush.

The amplitude of the second bristle carrier's vertical oscillation is dependent upon the radial distance that the offset 340 extends from the longitudinal axis of the driveshaft 330. In yet further embodiments, the second bristle carrier 133 may have a lobe or tab 350 extending radially inwardly from the second bristle carrier 133. In such embodiments, the vertical amplitude of the second bristle carrier 133 depends additionally upon the distance that the tab 350 extends radially inwardly from second bristle carrier 133. The second bristle carrier 133 should preferably possess sufficient flexibility such that it will move vertically when acted upon by the offset 340 and return to its original position when the vertical force is removed. This may be accomplished by using a generally elastomeric second bristle carrier 133 as described above, or a non-elastomeric (plastic) second bristle carrier 133 having sufficient flexibility. This may also be accomplished if the pivots 207, 211 of the second bristle carrier 133 have sufficient flexibility, e.g., are elastomeric. Preferably, the pivots 207, 211 have sufficient flexibility so that vertical movement of the second bristle carrier does not impart undesirable vertical or shear forces on the first bristle carrier 183, interfere with the sectorial movement of the second bristle carrier 133, or interfere with any other components of the toothbrush 100. Moreover, the driveshaft 330 and offset 340 preferably have sufficient rigidity relative to the second bristle carrier 133 so that neither the driveshaft 330 nor the offset 340 undesirably deflect when in contact with the second bristle carrier 133.

Vertical oscillation of the second bristle carrier 133 imparts additional movement of the bristles against the teeth and/or gums. This further enhances the cleaning and massaging effectiveness of the bristles.

It should also be noted that the embodiment depicted in Figures 37-39 illustrates one cam or offset. Thus, the second bristle carrier 133 undergoes one vertical oscillation for every one revolution of the driveshaft 330. Alternatively, the second bristle carrier 133 may undergo additional oscillations per revolution of the driveshaft 330 by configuring the driveshaft 330 with additional cams (not illustrated). Those skilled in the art will appreciate that any number of cams may be placed on the driveshaft 330 to obtain any desired number of oscillations per driveshaft revolution and how the toothbrush may be configured to achieve such function.

The vertical movement of the second bristle carrier 133 may further be varied by configuring the cams with an uneven pitch around the circumference of the driveshaft 330 and/or by varying the radial offset of the cams from the longitudinal axis of driveshaft 330. For example, if the cams are equally spaced, the second bristle carrier 133 will oscillate at a constant frequency. However, if the cams are not equally spaced, the second bristle carrier 133 will not oscillate at a constant frequency, but rather will oscillate in a complex manner. Similarly, if the radial offset of the cams is varied from one to another, the amplitude of vertical movement of the second bristle carrier 133 may be varied from one oscillation to another. Variations in the vertical movement of the second bristle carrier 133 serve to further vary the movement of the bristles against the teeth and gums. Referring now to Figures 40-42, still other embodiments of the invention include a second bristle carrier 133 that may be suspended from the brush section 104 so as to form a gap 360 between the second bristle carrier 133 and the brush section 104. This may be accomplished by including an indent 217 that is deeper than the thickness of the second bristle carrier 133. Those skilled in the art will appreciate other manners in which the toothbrush components may be adapted to achieve this function. The suspension of the second bristle carrier 133 from the brush section 104 may reduce friction between the two, increasing the smoothness of the toothbrush operation, reducing wear on the components, and reducing power consumption, thereby increasing battery life and/or permitting use of smaller and less expensive drive components.

In order to prevent the possibility of debris, food, toothpaste, saliva and other objects from entering the gap 360, the toothbrush 100 may further include curtains or walls 370 extending from the brush section 104 to the second bristle carrier 133 to generally form a seal over the gap 360. The curtains 370 may alternatively be attached to the second bristle carrier 133. The curtains 370 are preferably sufficiently flexible so as to flex with the sectorial movement of the second bristle carrier 133 and not unduly interfere with its movement. The curtains 370 may be made of elastomeric or non-elastomeric material.

A powered toothbrush made in accordance with the present invention provides a number of advantages over known powered toothbrushes that are presently available. For example, in embodiments having a first carrier that oscillates back and forth, or moves otherwise, the oscillating, tooth care elements, e.g. bristles (i.e., elastomeric and/or non- elastomeric) contact the surfaces of the teeth and the surrounding areas to deliver enhanced cleaning, stimulation, and tooth polishing and/or whitening. Further, embodiments having a second carrier may provide additional tooth care elements that may be disposed in various patterns and combinations different from those of the first carrier such that as the operator brushes his or her teeth, the oscillating tooth care elements contact the surfaces of the teeth and the surrounding areas to deliver enhanced cleaning, tooth polishing and or tooth whitening. These tooth care elements may move in a different manner than those of the first carrier, which along with the additional number and area of moving tooth care elements, provide increased contact with teeth and gingival tissues for enhanced cleaning, and massaging thereof, and stimulating over known powered toothbrushes.

An oscillating motion has advantages over known toothbrushes that continuously rotate in one direction in that the variation of direction and speed of the bristles during oscillation provides improved cleaning and stimulation. Although in an oscillating system of the invention the bristles may rotate through any range of motion, it has been found that ranges of motion from approximately 10° to 120° are effective in cleaning, whitening and stimulating. It has further been found that ranges of motion from approximately 10° to 30° are also effective, and further provide the benefits of reduced cost and complexity of the toothbrush drive mechanism.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, because certain changes may be made in carrying out the above method and in the construction(s) set forth without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A powered toothbrush comprising: a handle portion having a neck formed at one end; and a head coupled to the neck, the head including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a drive mechanism for moving the first carrier in a first path of motion, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to the head, the second carrier being formed of an elastomeric material and having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly from an upper surface of the second carrier, the second carrier being constructed so that upon application of a force to the upper surface thereof, the second carrier moves in a second path of motion that is different from the first path of motion.
2. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the first path of motion is about an axis perpendicular to an outer surface of the head.
3. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the first carrier oscillates in a back and forth manner.
4. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the first carrier oscillates in a rotational direction about a center point of the first carrier.
5. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the second path of motion is a path of motion perpendicular to an outer surface of the head.
6. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the first carrier is a disc shaped member.
7. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the drive mechanism includes a motor driven shaft having a drive end that drives the first carrier.
8. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, wherein the second carrier includes a platform extending across the head and an integral body portion that extends above the platform, an upper surface of the body portion supporting at least some of the at least one of bristles and the elastomeric cleaning member of the second carrier, the body portion defining a cavity therein to permit the body portion to deform upon application of the force.
9. The powered toothbrush of claim 8, wherein the body portion defines a second cavity therein.
10. The powered toothbrush of claim 8, wherein the body portion is formed with an annular shape.
11. The powered toothbrush of claim 8, wherein the cavity is defined such that a longitudinal axis thereof is perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the head.
12. The powered toothbrush of claim 8, wherein the cavity is defined such that a longitudinal axis thereof is parallel to a longitudinal axis of the head.
13. The powered toothbrush of claim 1, further including a holder that retains the at least one of the bristles and the elastomeric cleaning member, the holder being disposed within a recessed section defined by the upper surface of the second carrier.
14. The powered toothbrush of claim 13, wherein a plurality elastomeric cleaning members are formed around the bristle holder and integral with the upper surface of the second carrier.
15. A powered toothbrush comprising: a handle portion having a neck formed at one end; and a head coupled to the neck, the head including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a drive mechanism for moving the first carrier in a first path of motion, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to the head, the second carrier being formed of an elastomeric material and having at least one of a plurality of bristles and an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly from an upper surface of the second carrier, the second carrier having a weakened section such that upon application of a force to the upper surface thereof, the upper surface at least partially collapses resulting in movement of the at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or the elastomeric cleaning member, and upon removal of the force, the second carrier substantially returns to a non- collapsed condition.
16. The powered toothbrush of claim 15, wherein the first path of motion is about an axis perpendicular to an outer surface of the head.
17. The powered toothbrush of claim 15, wherein the first carrier oscillates in a back and forth manner.
18. The powered toothbrush of claim 15, wherein the first carrier oscillates in a rotational direction about a center point of the first carrier.
19. The powered toothbrush of claim 15, wherein the second carrier moves substantially in a direction perpendicular to an outer surface of the head when the force is applied thereto.
20. The powered toothbrush of claim 15, wherein the drive mechanism includes a motor driven shaft having a drive end that drives the first carrier.
21. The powered toothbrush of claim 15, wherein the second carrier includes a body portion having an upper wall that includes the upper surface and an opposing lower wall with an open ended cavity being defined therebetween, wherein the weakened section is formed in the upper wall.
22. The powered toothbrush of claim 21, wherein the weakened section comprises a groove defined in the upper wall.
23. The powered toothbrush of claim 22, wherein the groove extends perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the head.
24. The powered toothbrush of claim 22, wherein the groove extends parallel to a longitudinal axis of the head.
25. A powered toothbrush comprising: a handle portion having a neck formed at one end; and a head coupled to the neck, the head including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a drive mechanism for moving the first carrier in a first path of motion, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a resilient second carrier coupled to the head, the second carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly from an upper surface of the second carrier, the second carrier having a feature formed as a part thereof that permits the upper surface thereof to at least partially deform upon a force being applied to the upper surface such that the second carrier moves in a second path of motion different from the first path of motion.
26. The powered toothbrush of claim 25, wherein the feature comprises a cavity defined in the second carrier.
27. The powered toothbrush of claim 25, wherein the cavity is open at first and second sides of the second carrier.
28. The powered toothbrush of claim 25, further including a holder for retaining the at least one of bristles and the elastomeric cleaning member, the holder being disposed in a recess defined by the upper surface of the second carrier, wherein the cavity is positioned below the holder.
29. The powered toothbrush of claim 25, wherein one end of the second carrier is shaped to conform to a peripheral edge of the first carrier.
30. The powered toothbrush of claim 25, wherein the elastomeric cleaning member of the second carrier comprises an upstanding elastomeric wall having a shape selected from the group consisting of linear, zigzag, and serpentine.
31. The powered toothbrush of claim 25, wherein the elastomeric cleaning member of the second carrier comprises a plurality of elastomeric fingers.
32. A powered toothbrush comprising: a handle portion having a neck formed at one end; and a head coupled to the neck, the head including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a drive mechanism for moving the first carrier in a first path of motion, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to the head, the second carrier having a platform that includes a raised section having an upper surface that include at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom, the raised section defining a cavity as a part thereof that permits the raised section to at least partially deform in a second path of motion upon a force being applied to the upper surface thereof.
33. The powered toothbrush of claim 32, wherein the raised section is formed with an annular shape.
34. The powered toothbrush of claim 32, wherein at least the raised section of the second carrier is formed of an elastomeric material such upon removal of the force, the raised cavity returns to a substantially non-deformed condition.
35. The powered toothbrush of claim 32, wherein the cavity is defined as a hollow completely through the raised section such that the hollow is open at both ends thereof.
36. A brush section for use in a powered toothbrush including a handle portion having a neck formed at one end, the brush section comprising: a head adapted to be coupled to the neck, the head including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a drive mechanism for moving the first carrier in a first path of motion, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to the head, the second carrier being formed of an elastomeric material and having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly from an upper surface of the second carrier, the second carrier having a weakened section such that upon application of a force to the upper surface thereof, the upper surface at least partially collapses in a second path of motion resulting in movement of the at least one of a plurality of bristles and the elastomeric cleaning member, and upon removal of the force, the second carrier substantially returns to a non-collapsed condition.
37. A brush section for use in a powered toothbrush including a handle portion having a neck formed at one end, the brush section comprising: a head adapted to be coupled to the neck, the head including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a drive mechanism for moving the first carrier in a first path of motion, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to the head, the second carrier having a platform that includes a raised section having an upper surface that include at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom, the raised section having a cavity formed as a part thereof that permits the raised section to at least partially deform along a second path of motion upon a force being applied to the upper surface thereof.
38. A powered toothbrush comprising: a handle portion being formed with a neck at one end thereof; and a head coupled to the neck, the head further including: a base; a first carrier coupled to the base and operatively connected to a first drive feature for moving the first carrier in a first direction, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to the base, the second carrier having at least one of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom, the second carrier engaging the first carrier so that the movement of the first carrier in the first direction is translated into movement of the second carrier in a second direction.
39. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the first direction is a direction defined radially about a center point of said first carrier.
40. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the first carrier oscillates in a back and forth manner.
41. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the first carrier oscillates in a rotational direction.
42. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the second direction is a direction defined radially about a center point of said first carrier.
43. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the second direction is a direction along a longitudinal axis of head.
44. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the first carrier comprises a disc shaped member.
45. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the second carrier includes a platform having at least one leg extending outwardly therefrom to couple the second carrier to the base.
46. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 45, wherein the at least one leg is formed at an end of platform that is opposite an end of the platform that is engaged to the first carrier.
47. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 45, wherein the at least one leg is formed of one of a rigid material and an elastomeric material.
48. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 45, wherein platform is formed of one of a rigid material and an elastomeric material.
49. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the first drive feature comprises a drive shaft that is part of a drive mechanism.
50. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein said second carrier engages said first carrier in accordance with a protrusion disposed at an end of the platform of the second earner that faces the first carrier, said first carrier defining a complementary recess to receive the protrusion.
51. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 50, wherein the protrusion of the platform is rigidly received in recess.
52. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 50, wherein the protrusion of the platform is frictionally received in recess.
53. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein said second carrier engages said first carrier in accordance with an elastomeric member that extends outwardly from an end of the platform of the second carrier that faces the first carrier and is received within a complementary recess defined by the first carrier such that when the first carrier moves in the first direction, the elastomeric member remains in the recess, resulting in the second carrier moving in the second direction.
54. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the first direction and the second direction are the same.
55. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the second carrier is coupled to the base by a first leg that is formed at one of a midpoint of a first end of the second carrier that faces and is adjacent the first carrier and a midpoint of a second end that is opposite the first end and positioned apart from the first carrier.
56. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 55, wherein the second carrier moves in the second direction about the first leg.
57. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 55, wherein the second carrier includes a second leg that is disposed at a midpoint of an end of the second carrier opposite the end at which the first leg is disposed.
58. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein said second carrier engages said first carrier in accordance with a recess defined by the second carrier at a location which faces the first carrier and a member coupled to said first carrier that is received into the recess.
59. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 58, wherein the recess is formed in an end wall that faces the first carrier arid the member comprises a protrusion that extends outwardly from the first carrier.
60. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 59, wherein protrusion is formed of a rigid material and the second carrier is formed of an elastomeric material to permit movement of the first carrier to be translated into movement of the second carrier through movement of the protrusion.
61. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the second carrier is an elastomeric body disposed proximate to the first carrier, the second carrier having at least one surface that faces the first carrier and the first carrier including an edge that selectively contacts the at least one surface when the first carrier moves in the first direction, resulting in the second carrier being moved in the second direction.
62. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 61, wherein a first end of the second carrier faces the first carrier, the at least one surface being a lateral section of the first end and the edge of the first carrier that selectively contacts the at least one surface is in the form of an extension protruding outwardly from the first carrier.
63. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the movement in the second direction comprises rotation about a member that couples the second carrier to the base, said movement being lateral to the first carrier.
64. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the movement in the second direction comprises rotation about a member that couples the second carrier to the base, said movement being longitudinal and lateral relative to the first carrier.
65. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 38, wherein the second carrier is operatively connected to a second drive feature for moving the second carrier in a third direction different from the first and second directions.
66. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 65, wherein the third direction is a direction perpendicular to a surface of the base.
67. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 65, wherein the second drive feature comprises at least one cam surface that selectively contacts the second carrier to cause movement of the second carrier in the third direction.
68. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 67, wherein the second carrier includes a platform that is operatively connected to the second drive feature for moving the second carrier in a third direction, the at least one cam surface selectively contacting a bottom surface of platform to cause movement of platform in the third direction.
69. A powered toothbrush comprising: a handle portion having a neck formed at one end; and a head coupled to neck, the head further including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a first drive feature for moving the first carrier in a first direction, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to head at a first location, the second carrier being an elastomeric member in selective contact with the first carrier at a second location such that movement of the first carrier imparts movement to the second carrier, the second carrier having at least one of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly from an upper surface thereof.
70. A powered toothbrush comprising: a handle portion having a neck formed at one end; and a head coupled to the neck, the head further including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a first drive feature for moving the first carrier in a first direction, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier including a member that couples the second carrier to the head, the second carrier having a section that extends outwardly therefrom and engages the first carrier such that movement of the first carrier in the first direction is translated into movement of the second carrier in a second direction, the second carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom.
71. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 70, wherein the second carrier pivots about the member when the second carrier moves in the second direction.
72. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 70, wherein the member comprises at least one leg extending from the second carrier and being attached to head.
73. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 70, wherein the section comprises a protrusion that is received within a recess defined by the first carrier, the protrusion being retained in recess when the first carrier moves in the first direction.
74. The powered toothbrush as defined in claim 70, wherein the second carrier includes an upstanding elastomeric wall extending outwardly from an upper surface, the upstanding elastomeric wall having a shape selected from the group consisting of linear, zigzag, and serpentine.
75. A brush section for use in a powered toothbrush having a handle portion having a neck formed at one end, the brush section comprising: a head adapted to be coupled to the neck, the head further including: a first carrier coupled to the head and operatively connected to a first drive feature for moving the first carrier in a first direction, the first carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier coupled to head, the second carrier having at least one of a plurality of bristles and/or an elastomeric cleaning member extending outwardly therefrom, the second carrier engaging the first carrier so that the movement of the first carrier in the first direction is translated into movement of the second carrier in a second direction.
76. A powered toothbrush having a handle with a neck portion extending from the handle, comprising; a head connected to the neck portion, said head comprising; an exposed outer surface; a first carrier member coupled to the head and operatively connected to a first drive member for moving the first bristle carrier in a defined path of motion, wherein said first bristle carrier has a plurality of tooth care elements extending outwardly from the exposed outer surface; and a second carrier member being pivotally connected to the first bristle carrier and being pivotally connected to the head so that movement of the first bristle carrier in the defined path of motion is translated into defined movement of the second bristle carrier, wherein said second bristle carrier has a plurality of tooth care elements extending outwardly from the exposed outer surface.
77. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the first path of motion is about an axis generally perpendicular to the exposed outer surface of the head.
78. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the first carrier member oscillates in a back and forth manner.
79. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the first carrier member oscillates in a rotational direction.
80. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the second carrier member further comprises a body portion and a first pivot that is pivotally connected to the first carrier member and a second pivot that is pivotally connected to the head.
81. The powered toothbrush of claim 80, whereby the first pivot comprises a first protruding member extending from one end of the second bristle carrier and the second pivot comprises a second protruding member extending from another end of the second bristle carrier.
82. The powered toothbrush of claim 81, wherein the first protruding member is received within a first pivot mount formed in the first carrier member and the second protruding member is received within a second pivot mount formed in the head.
83. The powered toothbrush of claim 82, wherein each of the first and second pivot mounts comprises a notch.
84. The powered toothbrush of claim 80, wherein the body portion is formed of first material and the first and second pivots are formed of a second material.
85. The powered toothbrush of claim 80, wherein at least the first and second pivots are formed of an elastomeric material.
86. The powered toothbrush of claim 80, wherein the body portion is free of contact with the first carrier member and the head except at the locations of the first and second pivot mounts.
87. The powered toothbrush of claim 80, wherein the head has an indent portion formed therein and the body portion being disposed above the indent and free of contact therewith.
88. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the second carrier member is formed of an elastomeric material.
89. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein second carrier member pivots about the first carrier member at a first pivot of the second carrier member and pivots about the head at a second pivot of the second carrier member as the first carrier moves in its said first path of motion.
90. The powered toothbrush of claim 89, wherein the second carrier member moves about an axis which is parallel to the axis of movement of the first carrier member.
91. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the plurality of tooth care elements of the second carrier member are bristles formed of a material selected from the group consisting of an elastomeric material, a non-elastomeric material, and/or a combination thereof.
92. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the second carrier member is operatively connected to a second drive member for moving the second carrier member in a second path of motion.
93. The powered toothbrush of claim 92, wherein the second path of motion is a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the exposed outer surface of the head.
94. The powered toothbrush of claim 92, wherein the second carrier member vibrates in a vertical direction relative to the exposed outer surface of the head wherein the vibration is due to the second carrier member being operatively connected with the second drive member.
95. The powered toothbrush of claim 92, wherein the second drive member comprises at least one cam surface that is operatively connected with the second carrier member to cause movement of the second carrier member in the second path of motion.
96. The powered toothbrush of claim 95, wherein the at least one cam surface comprises an offset of a driveshaft.
97. The powered toothbrush of claim 92, wherein the lower surface of the second carrier member has a protrusion that is in communication with a cam surface of the second drive member.
98. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the first drive member comprises a driveshaft that is part of a drive mechanism.
99. The powered toothbrush of claim 76, wherein the second carrier member is disposed above the outer surface of the head so that a gap is formed between the second carrier member and the exposed outer surface of the head, said head further comprising; a pair of protective curtains extending from the head and being disposed adjacent exterior side faces of the second carrier member so as to seal the gap.
100. The powered toothbrush of claim 99, wherein the curtains are formed of a material that has sufficient resiliency to permit the curtain to flex as the second carrier member moves.
101. A powered toothbrush having a handle with a neck portion extending from the handle, comprising: a head connected to the neck, the head comprising: an exposed outer surface; a first carrier member connected to the head and operatively connected to a first drive member for moving the first carrier member in a first path of motion and said first carrier member having a plurality of tooth care elements extending outwardly therefrom; and a second carrier member having a body, said body comprising; a first pivotal connection for connecting the body to the first carrier member; a second pivotal connection for connecting the body to the head so that movement of the first carrier member in the first path of motion is translated into movement of the second carrier member and the body is free floating except for the connections at the first and second pivotal connections; and a plurality of tooth care elements extending outwardly from the exposed outer surface.
102. The powered toothbrush of claim 101, wherein the first pivotal connection is a protruding pivot formed at a first end of the body and the second pivotal connection is a protruding pivot formed at a second end of the body.
103. The powered toothbrush of claim 101, wherein each of the first and second carrier members moves about an axis generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the exposed outer surface of the head.
104. A brush section for use in a powered toothbrush, the powered toothbrush having a handle portion including a neck formed at one end, said brush section comprising: a head connected to the neck, said head comprising; an exposed outer surface; a first carrier member connected to the head and operatively connected to a first drive member for moving the first carrier member in a first path of motion wherein the first carrier member has a plurality of tooth care elements extending outwardly from the exposed outer surface; and a second carrier member being pivotally connected to the first carrier member at one end and being pivotally connected to the head at an opposite end so that movement of the first carrier member in the first path of motion is translated into movement of the second carrier member wherein the second carrier member has a plurality of tooth care elements extending outwardly from the exposed outer surface.
105. The brush section of claim 104, wherein the second carrier member oscillates in accordance with movement of the first carrier member in a sectional manner.
PCT/US2003/030635 2002-09-27 2003-09-26 Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning WO2004028293A1 (en)

Priority Applications (8)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US10/260,620 2002-09-27
US10/260,585 2002-09-27
US10/260,584 US6966093B2 (en) 2002-09-27 2002-09-27 Toothbrush having a movable upstanding cleaning element
US10/260,620 US7430776B2 (en) 2002-09-27 2002-09-27 Toothbrush with resilient head section
US10/260,585 US7140058B2 (en) 2002-09-27 2002-09-27 Toothbrush with kinetic plate
US10/260,669 2002-09-27
US10/260,669 US20040060137A1 (en) 2002-09-27 2002-09-27 Toothbrush with sectorial motion
US10/260,584 2002-09-27

Applications Claiming Priority (5)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
MXPA05003306A MXPA05003306A (en) 2002-09-27 2003-09-26 Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning.
BR0314712A BR0314712A (en) 2002-09-27 2003-09-26 Driven Toothbrush and Brush Section for Use on a Driven Toothbrush
CA 2499941 CA2499941A1 (en) 2002-09-27 2003-09-26 Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning
AU2003279042A AU2003279042A1 (en) 2002-09-27 2003-09-26 Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning
EP03770550A EP1555908A4 (en) 2002-09-27 2003-09-26 Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2004028293A1 true WO2004028293A1 (en) 2004-04-08

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PCT/US2003/030635 WO2004028293A1 (en) 2002-09-27 2003-09-26 Toothbrush with enhanced cleaning

Country Status (7)

Country Link
EP (1) EP1555908A4 (en)
KR (1) KR20050057599A (en)
AU (1) AU2003279042A1 (en)
BR (1) BR0314712A (en)
CA (1) CA2499941A1 (en)
MX (1) MXPA05003306A (en)
WO (1) WO2004028293A1 (en)

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WO2008103598A1 (en) * 2007-02-23 2008-08-28 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement
WO2011093874A1 (en) * 2010-01-29 2011-08-04 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement
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WO2016001831A1 (en) * 2014-07-02 2016-01-07 Koninklijke Philips N.V. Shaft for an automatic toothbrush
CN105249670A (en) * 2010-01-29 2016-01-20 高露洁-棕榄公司 Oral care device
EP3031423A1 (en) * 2014-12-10 2016-06-15 Braun GmbH Oral care implement and oral care device

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Cited By (20)

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US6966093B2 (en) 2002-09-27 2005-11-22 Colgate-Polmolive Company Toothbrush having a movable upstanding cleaning element
EP1661485A3 (en) * 2004-11-19 2012-07-11 FIRMA G.B. BOUCHERIE, naamloze vennootschap Toothbrush
WO2007011758A1 (en) * 2005-07-15 2007-01-25 Colgate-Palmolive Company Toothbrush having a movable upstanding cleaning element
KR101188941B1 (en) 2007-02-23 2012-10-08 콜게이트-파아므올리브캄파니 Oral care implement
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CN105249670A (en) * 2010-01-29 2016-01-20 高露洁-棕榄公司 Oral care device
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WO2011093874A1 (en) * 2010-01-29 2011-08-04 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement
TWI458451B (en) * 2010-01-29 2014-11-01 Colgate Palmolive Co Oral care implement
US9131766B2 (en) * 2010-01-29 2015-09-15 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement
US20140259485A1 (en) * 2010-01-29 2014-09-18 Colgate-Palmolive Company Oral care implement
WO2016001831A1 (en) * 2014-07-02 2016-01-07 Koninklijke Philips N.V. Shaft for an automatic toothbrush
CN106659555A (en) * 2014-07-02 2017-05-10 皇家飞利浦有限公司 Shaft for an automatic toothbrush
US10376348B2 (en) 2014-07-02 2019-08-13 Koninklijke Philips N.V. Shaft for an automatic toothbrush
EP3031423A1 (en) * 2014-12-10 2016-06-15 Braun GmbH Oral care implement and oral care device
WO2016092507A1 (en) * 2014-12-10 2016-06-16 Braun Gmbh Oral care implement and oral care device
US10010390B2 (en) 2014-12-10 2018-07-03 Braun Gmbh Oral care implement and oral care device

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
EP1555908A1 (en) 2005-07-27
AU2003279042A1 (en) 2004-04-19
MXPA05003306A (en) 2005-07-05
CA2499941A1 (en) 2004-04-08
KR20050057599A (en) 2005-06-16
BR0314712A (en) 2005-07-26
EP1555908A4 (en) 2008-08-06

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