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Publication numberUS20030140437 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/066,459
Publication dateJul 31, 2003
Filing dateJan 31, 2002
Priority dateJan 31, 2002
Also published asCA2474399A1, CA2474399C, CA2759094A1, CA2759094C, CN1642495A, CN100374091C, DE60327304D1, EP1474066A1, EP1474066B1, EP2090266A1, EP2090266B1, EP2092910A1, EP2092910B1, US7428766, US7900309, US8020238, US20030140435, US20050132513, US20080313830, US20090049626, WO2003063723A1
Publication number066459, 10066459, US 2003/0140437 A1, US 2003/140437 A1, US 20030140437 A1, US 20030140437A1, US 2003140437 A1, US 2003140437A1, US-A1-20030140437, US-A1-2003140437, US2003/0140437A1, US2003/140437A1, US20030140437 A1, US20030140437A1, US2003140437 A1, US2003140437A1
InventorsEyal Eliav, Kyoungeun Ahn, John Gatzemeyer
Original AssigneeEyal Eliav, Kyoungeun Ahn, Gatzemeyer John J.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Powered toothbrush
US 20030140437 A1
Abstract
A powered toothbrush refill head combines a typical round oscillating or primary tuft block which oscillates in a rotational manner with a secondary tuft block. The secondary tuft block may be oscillated in a rotational manner or may oscillate linearly back and forth in the same direction as the handle of the toothbrush. The secondary tuft block could be in the form of a pair of side by side plates mounted on the head adjacent to the round oscillating block. The invention could also be practice where the secondary tuft block is in the form of a plurality of sets of rows of bristles mounted for back and forth movement in a direction perpendicular to the handle.
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Claims(38)
What is claimed is:
1. In a powered toothbrush having a handle, a head mounted to said handle, a primary tuft block mounted in said head, said primary tuft block having exposed bristles extending outwardly from said head, a secondary tuft block mounted in said head at a location displaced from said primary tuft block, said secondary tuft block having exposed bristles extending outwardly from said head, a drive assembly in said handle, said drive assembly including a drive connection to said primary tuft block in the form of a direct drive from a shaft axially extending from a motor to said primary tuft block to oscillate said primary tuft block back and forth, and a drive transmitting connection connecting said primary tuft block to said secondary tuft block for moving said secondary tuft block back and forth in an oscillating manner in response to the movement of said primary tuft block while said primary tuft block is being oscillated.
2. The toothbrush of claim 1 including a shaft mounted in said head, and said primary tuft block being rotationally mounted on said shaft.
3. The toothbrush of claim 2 wherein said primary tuft block is a round block having a generally circular cross-sectional shape, said secondary tuft block is being round block having a general circular cross-sectional shape, and said secondary tuft block being rotationally mounted on a post whereby said back and forth movement of said secondary tuft block is a rotational oscillating movement.
4. The toothbrush of claim 3 wherein said drive transmitting connection comprises a finger in one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block located in a cutout in the other of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block.
5. The toothbrush of claim 3 wherein said secondary tuft block is mounted outwardly of said primary tuft block with said primary tuft block being between said secondary tuft block and said handle, and said secondary tuft block being of lesser size than said primary tuft block.
6. The toothbrush of claim 3 wherein said secondary tuft block is mounted outwardly of said primary tuft block with said primary tuft block being between said secondary tuft block, and said handle, and said secondary tuft block being of the same size as said primary tuft block.
7. The toothbrush of claim 3 wherein said bristles on at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block include bristles of different configuration and material than other bristles on said at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block.
8. The toothbrush of claim 2 wherein said primary tuft block is a round tuft block having a generally circular cross section, said secondary tuft block comprising at least one plate disposed adjacent to said primary tuft block, and said drive transmitting connection causing said at least one plate to reciprocate linearly, in a direction parallel to said handle.
9. The toothbrush of claim 8 wherein said secondary tuft block comprises at least two side by side plates.
10. The toothbrush of claim 9 wherein said drive transmitting connection comprises a link connecting each of said plates to said primary tuft block.
11. The toothbrush of claim 9 wherein said plates are located between said primary tuft block and said handle.
12. The toothbrush of claim 11 wherein each of said plates includes an arcuate edge disposed adjacent to and parallel to said primary tuft block.
13. The toothbrush of claim 9 wherein said bristles in one of said plates are ramped and are inclined in an opposite direction and parallel to said bristles in the other of said plates.
14. The toothbrush of claim 9 wherein said bristles on at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block include bristles of different configuration and material than other bristles on said at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block.
15. The toothbrush of claim 9 wherein the bristles on each of said plates are arranged in rows and are of ramped height, and the ramped height of each plate being inclined in an opposite direction than its adjacent plate.
16. In a powered toothbrush having a handle, a head mounted to said handle, a primary tuft block mounted in said head, said primary tuft block having exposed bristles extending outwardly from said head, said primary tuft block being rotationally mounted on a first shaft, a secondary tuft block mounted in said head at a location displaced from said primary tuft block, said secondary tuft block having exposed bristles extending outwardly from said head, said secondary tuft block being rotationally mounted on a second shaft, a drive assembly in said handle, said drive assembly including a drive connection to said primary tuft block to rotationally oscillate said primary tuft block back and forth, a drive transmitting connection connecting said primary tuft block to said secondary tuft block for moving said secondary tuft block back and forth in a rotational oscillating manner in response to the rotational oscillation movement of said primary tuft block while said primary tuft block is being oscillated, and said drive transmitting connection comprising a finger in one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block located in a cutout in the other of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block.
17. The toothbrush of claim 16 wherein said primary tuft block is a round block having a generally circular cross-sectional shape, said secondary tuft block is being round block having a general circular cross-sectional shape, said cutout being in said secondary tuft block, and said finger being in said primary tuft block.
18. The toothbrush of claim 17 wherein said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block are of the same size.
19. The toothbrush of claim 18 wherein said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block each include said cutout and said finger so as to be interchangeable during assembly.
20. The toothbrush of claim 16 wherein said secondary tuft block is mounted outwardly of said primary tuft block with said primary tuft block being between said secondary tuft block and said handle, and said secondary tuft block being of lesser size than said primary tuft block.
21. The toothbrush of claim 16 wherein said bristles on at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block include bristles of different configuration and material than other bristles on said at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block.
22. In a powered toothbrush having a handle, a head mounted to said handle, a primary tuft block mounted in said head, said primary tuft block having exposed bristles extending outwardly from said head, a shaft mounted in said head, said primary tuft block being rotationally mounted on said shaft, a secondary tuft block mounted in said head at a location displaced from said primary tuft block, said secondary tuft block having exposed bristles extending outwardly from said head, a drive assembly in said handle, said drive assembly including a drive connection to said primary tuft block to oscillate said primary tuft block back and forth in a rotational direction, and a drive transmitting connection located between said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block for moving said secondary tuft block back and forth in an oscillating manner in a linear direction while said primary tuft block is oscillated in a rotational direction.
23. The toothbrush of claim 22 wherein said primary tuft block is a round tuft block having a generally circular cross section, said secondary tuft block comprising at least one plate disposed adjacent to said primary tuft block, and said drive transmitting connection causing said at least one plate to reciprocate linearly in a direction parallel to said handle. bristles of different configuration and material than other bristles on said at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block.
30. The toothbrush of claim 24 wherein the bristles on each of said plates are arranged in rows and are of ramped height, and the ramped height of each plate being inclined in an opposite direction than its adjacent plate.
31. The toothbrush of claim 22 wherein said primary tuft block is round and has a generally circular cross section, and said secondary tuft block having at least one horizontally disposed bar located generally perpendicular to said handle.
32. The toothbrush of claim 31 wherein said secondary tuft block comprises a plurality of side by side parallel bars, and each of said bars having bristles extending outwardly thereof.
33. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said plurality of bars comprises at least two sets of bars, each of said sets of bars having at least two bars in said set, and said bars of said at least two sets being mounted in an alternating manner with a bar of each set disposed adjacent to a bar of the other set.
34. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said plurality of bars comprises two sets of side by side parallel bars, each of said sets having two bars, and said sets of bars being mounted in an alternating manner whereby a bar of each of said sets is disposed adjacent to a bar of the other of said sets.
35. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said plurality of bars comprises at least two sets of bars, each of said sets of bars having at least two adjacent bars in said set, and each of said sets of adjacent bars being mounted to move in a direction opposite to the movement of its adjacent set of bars.
36. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said plurality of bars comprises two sets of side by side parallel bars, each of said sets having two adjacent bars, and each of said sets of adjacent bars being mounted to move in a direction opposite to the direction of movement of the other of said sets of adjacent bars.
37. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said drive assembly includes a rotating drive shaft, said drive connection being a crank end of said drive shaft mounted to said primary tuft block, and said drive transmitting connection being cam structure on said drive shaft engaged with said bars.
38. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said drive assembly includes a rotating drive shaft, said drive connection being a crank end of said drive shaft mounted to said primary tuft block, and said drive transmitting connection being cam structure on said drive shaft engaged with said bars.
39. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said bristles on said bars are of ramped height arranged in rows parallel to each other.
40. The toothbrush of claim 39 wherein the direction of inclination of each row of bristles is opposite to its adjacent row.
41. The toothbrush of claim 39 including stimulator bristles on said head peripherally outwardly of and at least partially around said secondary tuft block.
42. The toothbrush of claim 32 wherein said bristles on said bars are of the same height as each other.
43. The toothbrush of claim 42 including stimulator bristles on said head peripherally outwardly of and at least partially around said secondary tuft block.
44. The toothbrush of claim 27 wherein said bristles on at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block include bristles of different configuration and material than other bristles on said at least one of said primary tuft block and said secondary tuft block.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is directed to a powered toothbrush refill head that includes an oscillating block having bristles. Various types of such toothbrushes are generally known in the art. Reference is made to U.S. Pat. No. 5,625,916 which relates to an electrically driven toothbrush which includes a motor drive for rotating a drive shaft. The drive shaft is connected to a bristle holder on the head of the toothbrush in such a manner that rotation of the drive shaft causes the bristle holder to rotationally oscillate back and forth. Various other arrangements are known for oscillating a bristle holder mounted to the head of an electric toothbrush.

[0002] U.S. Pat. No. 5,416,942 describes a motorized toothbrush having two concentrically arranged brushes coaxially supported in a shell. The brushes are driven by a drive shaft connected to a spindle which is bent to form two inclined arms at its end. Each of the arms is located in a slot in each respective brush. When the drive shaft is rotated the inclined arms cause each brush to rotate about their axis in opposite directions to each other.

[0003] The motorized toothbrush described in PCT international Publication No. WO 00/78244 similarly includes two coaxially mounted first and second brush heads which rotationally oscillate with respect to each other in different directions and/or at different speeds. Two different drive mechanisms are disclosed. One drive mechanism includes a linearly reciprocating actuator to which two connecting rods are attached. The connecting rods are formed from a single piece of wire generally V-shaped with an end of each connecting rod being mounted to a different one of the brush heads. As the actuator and connecting rods are moved linearly back and forth the ends of the connecting rods are moved toward and away from each other to cause the brush heads to rotate. In the second embodiment each brush head is provided with a toothed region which engages a conical gear at the distal end of a rotationally oscillating shaft so that rotational oscillation of the shaft is transmitted by the conical gear to each toothed region to thereby rotationally oscillate the brush heads.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,030 discloses a rather complicated arrangement for a dental cleaning device having two brush holders. One of the brush holders is reciprocated about a pivotal axis as a result of a pivotal coupling between the brush holder and a connecting rod in the drive means. The other brush holder is also reciprocated about a pivotal axis as a result of a coupling between the brush holder and a drive member of the drive means. Although the two brush holders are located adjacent to each other the reciprocation of one of the brush holders is not utilized to cause the reciprocation of the other brush holder. Instead, both brush holders oscillate as a result of each brush holder being coupled to the drive means.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 6,237,178 discloses a toothbrush having a bristle holder which is rotated reciprocally along a circularly arcuate path. An interdental bristle holder is mounted longitudinally outwardly of the bristle holder. The patent states that the interdental bristle holder is reciprocatingly movable transversely to the longitudinal axis and is in driving engagement with the bristle holder so that the interdental bristle holder reciprocates transversely to the longitudinal axis when the bristle holder is reciprocated along the circularly arcuate path. The drawings, however, illustrate the interdental bristle holder to have an arcuate edge which is parallel to and extends partially around the arcuate edge of the bristle holder 40. Accordingly, there would be little room for any significant transverse reciprocation.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 6,308,358 discloses a toothbrush having a bristle holder and an interdental bristle holder. The patent states that each of these bristle holders performs a pivotal movement along a circular path, but does not state how the bristle holders are driven.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 3,242,516 discloses a toothbrush having a central set of bristles with a further set of bristles on each side thereof. The central set is driven by a drive mechanism. The central set includes a gear which meshes with gears for each of the other two sets so that rotation of the central set of brush elements will cause the other sets of brush elements to also rotate. No mention is made of rotating the brush elements back and forth in an oscillating manner.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 5,353,460 discloses a power driven toothbrush which uses a rather complicated drive arrangement including various types of gears and modified shaft structure to rotationally oscillate a brush carrier. The brush carrier is linked to a brush holder so that the brush holder is also rotationally oscillated.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,504,959 discloses an electric toothbrush wherein a pair of rotating bases holding brush bundles is rotatably mounted in a pair of pins secured to a slider. A pinion is secured to each base for engagement with a rack of a holder. The slider is mounted in the holder and moved longitudinally by a drive mechanism. As the slider moves longitudinally the engagement of the pinions with the rack causes the bases to rotate in a reciprocating motion to thereby reciprocatingly rotate the brush bundles.

[0010] PCT International Publication No. WO 01/91603 discloses a toothbrush having sets of bristle tufts which reciprocate in their angular orientation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] An object of this invention is to provide a powered toothbrush refill head which is capable of delivering a cleaning, polishing, whitening action in addition to the cleaning efficiency of a typical powered toothbrush refill product.

[0012] A further object of this invention is to provide various techniques for adding to the cleaning efficiency of an oscillating block in the toothbrush head.

[0013] In accordance with this invention the toothbrush head includes a primary tuft block mounted to the head. The primary tuft block is mounted in such a manner as to oscillate back and forth preferably rotationally. The head includes a secondary tuft block which is driven to further oscillate back and forth while the primary tuft block is oscillated back and forth.

[0014] In one practice of this invention the secondary tuft block is interconnected with the primary tuft block so that oscillating rotation of the primary tuft block causes an oscillating rotation of the secondary tuft block.

[0015] In accordance with a further practice of this invention the secondary tuft block comprises a plurality of side by side plates connected to the primary tuft block in such a manner that the side by side plates oscillate linearly in a direction parallel to the handle of the toothbrush while the primary tuft block is oscillating.

[0016] In still yet another practice of this invention the secondary tuft block is a plurality of rows of bars extending laterally across the head perpendicular to the handle. The bars oscillate back and forth across the tuft head in a direction perpendicular to the handle while the primary tuft block is oscillating.

THE DRAWINGS

[0017]FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a powered toothbrush refill head in accordance with one practice of this invention;

[0018]FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the head shown in FIG. 1;

[0019]FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the head shown in FIGS. 1-2;

[0020] FIGS. 4-5 are end elevational views of the head shown in FIGS. 1-3;

[0021] FIGS. 6-7 are perspective views of the head shown in FIGS. 1-5 in the upright and inverted positions;

[0022]FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional plan view of a toothbrush incorporating the head shown in FIGS. 1-7;

[0023]FIG. 9 is an enlarged side elevational view in cross-section of the head shown in FIGS. 1-8;

[0024]FIG. 10 is a top plan view showing the drive mechanism for the head shown in FIGS. 1-9;

[0025]FIG. 10A is a view similar to FIG. 10 of a modified form of drive mechanism;

[0026]FIG. 11 is a top plan view of a powered toothbrush refill head in accordance with a further embodiment of this invention;

[0027]FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of the head shown in FIG. 11;

[0028]FIG. 13 is a bottom plan view of the head shown in FIGS. 11-12;

[0029]FIG. 14 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 12 with the head inverted;

[0030] FIGS. 15-16 are end elevational views of the head shown in FIGS. 11-14;

[0031] FIGS. 17-18 are perspective views showing the head of FIGS. 11-16 in the upright and inverted positions;

[0032] FIGS. 19-20 are plan views of the drive mechanism for the head shown in FIGS. 11-18 in different phases of operation;

[0033]FIG. 21 is a top plan view of a powered toothbrush refill head in accordance with yet another embodiment of this invention;

[0034]FIG. 22 is a side elevational view of the head shown in FIG. 21;

[0035]FIG. 23 is a bottom plan view of the head shown in FIG. 22;

[0036]FIG. 24 is a view similar to FIG. 22 showing the head inverted;

[0037] FIGS. 25-26 are end elevational views of the head shown in FIGS. 21-24;

[0038] FIGS. 27-28 are perspective views of the head shown in FIGS. 21-26 in the upright and inverted positions;

[0039]FIG. 29 is a top plan view of a variation of the powered toothbrush refill head shown in FIGS. 21-28;

[0040]FIG. 30 is a side elevational view of the head shown in FIG. 29;

[0041]FIG. 31 is a bottom plan view of the head shown in FIGS. 29-30;

[0042]FIG. 32 is a view similar to FIG. 30 with the head inverted;

[0043] FIGS. 33-34 are end elevational views of the head shown in FIGS. 29-32;

[0044] FIGS. 35-36 are perspective views of the head shown in FIGS. 29-34 in the upright and inverted positions;

[0045]FIG. 37 is a top plan view of yet another variation of the powered toothbrush refill head shown in FIGS. 21-28;

[0046]FIG. 38 is a side elevational view of the head shown in FIG. 37;

[0047]FIG. 39 is a bottom plan view of the head shown in FIGS. 37-38;

[0048]FIG. 40 is a view similar to FIG. 38 with the head inverted;

[0049] FIGS. 41-42 are end elevational views of the head shown in FIGS. 37-40;

[0050] FIGS. 43-44 are perspective views of the head shown in FIGS. 37-42 in the upright and inverted positions;

[0051]FIG. 45 is a top plan view of still yet another variation of the powered toothbrush refill head shown in FIGS. 21-28;

[0052]FIG. 46 is a side elevational view of the head shown in FIG. 45;

[0053]FIG. 47 is a bottom plan view of the head shown in FIGS. 45-46;

[0054]FIG. 48 is a view similar to FIG. 46 showing the head in an inverted position;

[0055] FIGS. 49-50 are end elevational views of the head shown in FIGS. 45-48;

[0056] FIGS. 51-52 are perspective views of the head shown in FIGS. 45-50 in the upright and inverted positions;

[0057]FIG. 53 is a plan view of the drive mechanism for the heads shown in FIGS. 21-52 in one phase of operation;

[0058]FIG. 54 is a cross-sectional view taken through FIG. 53 along the line 54-54;

[0059]FIG. 55 is a view similar to FIG. 53 showing a different phase of operation;

[0060]FIG. 55A is a view similar to FIG. 55 of a modified mode of operation; and

[0061]FIG. 56 is a cross-sectional view taken through FIG. 55 along the line 56-56.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0062] FIGS. 1-10 are directed to a practice of the invention wherein a powered toothbrush refill head 10 is provided with a primary tuft block 12 and a secondary tuft block 14 mounted to the refill arm 16 of a toothbrush 28 at the end of handle extension 18 at a location displaced from the primary tuft block. Each tuft block contains various types of bristles or brushing elements. As shown, for example, in FIGS. 1-2 and 6-7 the primary tuft block 12 has a plurality of bristles arranged in any suitable pattern. For example, an outer generally circularly arranged row of natural bristles 20 is located around the periphery of tuft block 12. An inner set of natural bristles 22 is located in a generally circular pattern concentrically within the circular arrangement of outer bristles 20. As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 6 some of the bristles are shorter than other bristles.

[0063] As shown each of primary tuft block 12 and secondary tuft block 14 is of generally circular cross-sectional shape. Secondary tuft block 14 is located outwardly of primary tuft block 12 and is of smaller size than primary tuft block 12.

[0064] Secondary tuft block 14 also includes a plurality of bristles. In the illustrated embodiment these bristles include four sets of natural bristle tufts 24 separated from each other by rubber bristles or massage elements 26 which are of the same height as bristles 24.

[0065] It is to be understood that the specific illustration and description of the bristles for primary tuft block 12 and secondary tuft block 14 is merely for exemplary purposes. The invention can, however, be practiced with various combinations of the same or different bristle configurations (such as stapled, IMT, etc.) and/or with the same or different bristle materials (such as nylon bristles, spiral bristles, rubber bristles, etc.). It is thereby possible to select the combination of bristle configurations and bristle materials to achieve specific intended results, such as to create as much movement from the oscillating tuft heads to deliver additional oral health benefits like enhanced cleaning, tooth polishing and/or tooth whitening.

[0066] It is also to be understood that the head 16 could include other bristles such as on non-movable portions of the heads separate from the bristles on the oscillating tufts blocks 12,14. Thus, for example, rubber triangular bristles or massage elements could be located on opposite portions of the head 16 between the tuft blocks 12 and 14. It is also to be understood that the bristles for the oscillating tuft blocks could include combinations of natural or rubber bristles or could include solely natural or solely rubber bristles.

[0067] It is to be understood that as used herein the term bristle is meant to include cleaning elements which may be of solid construction such as rubber massage members or stimulators and is not intended to be limited to tufts or natural bristles.

[0068] FIGS. 8-9 illustrate an exemplary type of drive structure for oscillating the primary tuft block 12. This drive structure incorporates the type of drive disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,625,916, all of the details of which are incorporated herein by reference thereto. As shown in FIG. 8 the toothbrush 28 has a hollow housing 29 in which a plurality of batteries 30,30 are mounted to power the motor 32 as actuated by an on/off switch (not shown). Motor 32 is connected to coupling 34 which grips one end of a drive shaft 36 so as to rotate the drive shaft 36.

[0069] As shown in FIG. 9 the primary tuft block 12 has a slot or opening 38 into which the offset crank end 40 of shaft 36 is mounted. As shaft 36 rotates the rotating crank end 40 causes the primary tuft block 12 to rotate in a back and forth oscillating manner about shaft or post 42 which is mounted to refill arm 16. Thus, the 360° rotational movement of shaft 36 is transmitted into an oscillating back and forth rotational movement of primary tuft block 12.

[0070] The type of drive mechanism described and illustrated in FIGS. 8-9 is a particularly preferred type of drive mechanism because of its simplicity and its effectiveness. As shown, the drive shaft 36 extends axially from the motor 32 and is mounted directly to the primary tuft block 12. Accordingly, the primary tuft block 12 is oscillated by a drive which comprises an axially oriented shaft extending from the motor to the primary tuft block without the need for any intervening gears, etc. As used in this application the term “direct drive from a shaft axially extending from the motor to the primary tuft block” is intended to mean such a drive mechanism which does not require additional complicated structure such as gears and the like to oscillate the primary tuft block.

[0071]FIG. 10 illustrates a drive connection between primary tuft block 12 and secondary tuft block 14. As shown therein primary tuft block 12 includes a finger or extension 44 which is located in slot or cutout 46 in secondary tuft block 14. Accordingly, as primary tuft block 12 reciprocates back and forth in a rotational manner the finger 44 causes a like oscillation to result from secondary tuft block 14. FIG. 9 illustrates the secondary tuft block 14 to be mounted on its post or shaft 48 secured to refill arm 16 to permit such oscillating rotational movement.

[0072] It is to be understood that while FIGS. 8-10 illustrate the oscillating movement of primary tuft block 12 to result from a rotating drive shaft 36 with its crank end 40, other types of oscillating drive mechanisms may be utilized as is known in the art such as gears, cams and the like. Such drive mechanisms, however, are less preferred.

[0073] Similarly, while FIGS. 9-10 illustrate a preferred drive transmitting connection from the primary tuft block to the secondary tuft block by means of the finger 44 extending into cutout 46, the drive transmitting connection could be from a finger of the secondary tuft block located in a cutout in the primary tuft block. Alternatively, other types of drive transmitting transmissions or connections could also be used such as links or cams. FIG. 10A, for example, shows a pin 45 straddling the primary tuft block 12 and the secondary tuft block 14. Pin 45 could be pivotally secured to each tuft block so that an oscillating rotation of primary tuft block 12 would be transmitted to secondary tuft block 14 thereby causing an oscillating rotation in the opposite direction of secondary tuft block 14. Alternatively, pin 45 could be rigidly secured to or even integral with one of the tuft blocks and pivotally mounted to the other tuft block.

[0074] An advantageous aspect of the drive connection between primary tuft block 12 and secondary tuft block 14 is that primary tuft block 12 rotates back and forth only over a limited arc, rather than a full 360° and that this oscillating or limited rotation is transmitted to the secondary tuft block to result in a like type of limited rotational oscillation. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 10 the oscillation of the secondary tuft block is achieved by a single drive connecting member, namely, the finger 44 mounted in the slot or cutout 46, rather than for example sets of intermeshed gear teeth. In the embodiment of FIG. 10A the drive connecting member is a pin 45.

[0075] The embodiment of FIGS. 1-10 thus utilizes a drive assembly in the handle of the toothbrush wherein the drive assembly includes a drive connection to the primary tuft block 12 so as to oscillate the primary tuft block 12 back and forth on its shaft 42. A drive transmitting connection, namely, the finger 44 and slot 46 or the pin 45 between the primary tuft block 12 and the secondary tuft block 14 results in moving the secondary tuft block 14 back and forth in an oscillating manner while the primary tuft block is oscillating.

[0076] It is to be understood that the invention in all of its embodiments could be practiced where the secondary tuft block also has a drive transmitting connection to still yet a further or tertiary tuft block. For example, the secondary and tertiary tuft blocks could utilize a similar type connection as the finger and slot that is utilized between the primary and secondary tuft blocks or by using any other suitable drive transmitting connection. The tertiary tuft block could drive yet a further tuft block, etc. The number of tuft blocks would be determined by space constraints and practicality. Having only a primary and a secondary tuft blocks is preferred.

[0077] Advantageously, the invention could be practiced with only minor constructional modification changes to existing type powered brush refill heads. Thus, for example, refill arm would be modified in shape to accept a second round tuft block 14 for connection with the primary round refill design or tuft block 12. This allows for simple modifications to the second head shape which could be a compact head, a regular head, full head, etc. so that different sizes/actions could be offered to the consumer.

[0078] The constructional changes that would be made to known powered refill products having a round oscillating block or primary tuft block would be to modify the shape of the refill arm 16 to accept the additional tuft plates which would be located below the round oscillating block 12. The round tuft block 12 would also require some modifications to accept the connection points for the additional plates. Other constructional modifications would depend on the different bristles configurations included in the consumer-preferred design (i.e., rubber fingers, etc.).

[0079]FIG. 10 illustrates the primary tuft block 12 to be of larger size than the secondary tuft block 14. FIG. 10A, however, shows a practice of the invention where both tuft blocks are of the same size. If desired, the secondary tuft block could be larger than the primary tuft block. It is particularly preferred to have both tuft blocks the same size since this lends itself to the possibility of making both tuft blocks of identical structure. This would simplify and reduce manufacturing costs. Thus, the slot 38 which accommodates the end 40 of shaft 36 for the primary tuft block could be used to function as the slot 46 of the secondary tuft block to accommodate the finger 44. Where both tuft blocks are made of identical structure the secondary tuft block would have a non-functioning finger. Where other types of drive transmitting members are used, such as pin 45, the secondary tuft block could still be provided with a non-functional slot identical to slot 38 of the primary tuft block so that the two tuft blocks are interchangeable during assembly.

[0080] FIGS. 11-20 relate to a further embodiment of this invention where there is at least one secondary tuft block at a location displaced from the primary tuft block. As shown in FIGS. 11-18 the head 10A includes a primary tuft block 12 and a secondary tuft block which is illustrated as being in the form of a pair of plates 50,52 mounted on refill arm 16. As later described the two plates 50,52 are mounted for oscillatory movement back and forth in a direction generally parallel to handle extension 18. This movement, in combination with the primary tuft block 12 oscillating rotationally, thereby allows the refill to deliver an added cleaning, polishing, whitening action in addition to the cleaning efficiency of a typical powered toothbrush refill product.

[0081] As with the description of the various bristle configuration and bristle material combinations possibilities discussed with regard to head 10, the head 10A likewise could incorporate different combinations. In the illustrated embodiment, primary tuft block 12 includes a plurality of sets of natural bristles 54 separated by bristles of IMT block configuration 56. All of the bristles 54 are of the same height which is slightly higher than bristles 56. Plates 50,52 include two longitudinal rows of bristles wherein the rows of bristles include natural bristles 58 and rubber fingers/bristles 60. The height of the bristles for each plate 50,52 tapers so as to create a ramp effect. Thus, the bristles for plate 50 are higher at the end of plate 50 located nearer to handle extension 18 creating a downwardly inclined ramp toward primary tuft block 12. The bristles in plate 52, however, have the opposite ramp effect where the tallest bristles are closest to primary tuft block 12. In addition to the bristles in plates 50,52 tapering in height, the bristles may also be inclined toward and away from the handle as best shown in FIG. 12.

[0082] FIGS. 19-20 illustrate a drive mechanism for causing the plates 50,52 to reciprocate linearly in the same direction as handle extension 18 while the primary tuft block 12 oscillates back and forth rotationally. As shown in FIGS. 19-20 the drive connection is located below the outer surface of the primary tuft block 12 and the outer surface of the secondary tuft block from which the bristles extend outwardly away from refill arm 16. As with the embodiment of FIGS. 8-10 the handle 18 includes a rotating drive shaft 36 which has a crank end 40 engaged in slot 38 of primary tuft block 12 so that rotation of drive shaft 36 causes the primary tuft block 12 to rotate about its shaft or post 42. Thus, the drive mechanism is preferably a direct drive from a shaft extending from the motor to the primary tuft block.

[0083] The plates 50,52 are connected to oscillating primary tuft block 12 in such a manner that the rotational movement of primary tuft block 12 causes the plates to reciprocate back and forth in a direction parallel to handle extension 18. As illustrated in FIGS. 19-20 the connection is accomplished by a link 62 connecting each plate 50,52 to primary tuft block 12. FIG. 19 shows the plates in a neutral or centered condition. FIG. 20 shows the condition where the primary tuft block 12 is rotating in a counterclockwise direction. The crank end 40 is shifted to the right as shown in FIG. 20. The links 62,62 cause the plate 50 to be pulled in a direction away from handle extension 18, while the plate 52 is pushed in a direction toward the handle extension. Alternatively, the links could be mounted in such a manner that both plates 50,52 move simultaneously in the same direction. If desired, plates 50,52 could be mounted in tracks in refill arm 16 to assure that the movement of the plates is a straight back and forth linear movement thereby avoiding any side shifting or rotation.

[0084] In order to minimize space requirements the outer edge 53 of each plate 50,52 which is disposed adjacent to the primary tuft block 12 is arcuate along an arc generally parallel to the curvature of the round or circular primary tuft block 12.

[0085] Although FIGS. 11-20 illustrate the secondary tuft block to be in the form of two side by side plates the invention may be practiced with other variations wherein there is an up and down movement parallel to the longitudinal axis of the handle extension 18. Thus, in its simplest form there could be a single plate or there could be three or more side by side plates where some or all of the plates move in the same or in different directions. For example, two or more adjacent plates could move in the same direction. Alternatively, each plate may move in an opposite direction to its adjacent plate. In each of these variations the necessary points of connection would be made between each plate and the oscillating primary tuft block to cause the linear reciprocating movement of the plates and their outwardly extending bristles.

[0086] FIGS. 21-56 illustrate a third variation of the invention wherein there is a reciprocating movement of a secondary tuft block at a location displaced from the primary tuft block while the primary tuft block rotates in an oscillating manner. In the various embodiments of FIGS. 21-56 the oscillating or reciprocating movement is a side to side movement in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the handle extension 18. FIGS. 21-52 illustrate various exemplary possible combinations of bristle structure that could be used with this practice of the invention. One such combination of bristle structure is illustrated in FIGS. 21-28. As shown therein the head includes a primary tuft block 12 with the secondary tuft block being formed by parallel laterally disposed bars 64,66,68,70. (The bars 64,66,68,70 are actually located below the surface with the bristles on the bars extending outwardly through slots in refill arm 16.)

[0087] FIGS. 21-28 illustrate head 10B with one variation of bristle combination. As shown therein, a set of stimulators 72 is arranged around the periphery of refill arm 16 outwardly of the laterally reciprocating bristle bars 64,66,68,70. The bristles 74 on the bristle bars taper in height to create a ramped affect. The tapering may be uniform in the sense that the bristles in each row taper in the same direction laterally across head 10B or the tapering may alternate from row to row or the tapering could be such that the bristles 74 in rows or on bars 68 and 70 are the same as each other while being opposite to the tapering for the bristles on bars 66,68. (FIG. 43 also illustrates the ramped bristles 74 without peripheral stimulators 72.)

[0088] In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 29-36 the head 10C also includes a set of peripherally located stimulators 72. The bristles 76 for laterally oscillating bars 64,66,68 and 70, however, are all of the same height, rather than being ramped.

[0089] FIGS. 37-44 illustrate a variation where the head 10D has its bristles 74 of tapering height to create a ramp effect for each laterally oscillating bar 64,66,68,70 in the same manner as described with regard to head 10B. Unlike head 10B, however, head 10D omits the peripherally located stimulators.

[0090] FIGS. 45-52 illustrate a head 10E which is similar to head 10C in that the bristles 76 are of the same height but the head does not include any stimulators surrounding the bristles 76.

[0091] As illustrated, particularly in FIGS. 21, 29, 37, 43, 45 and 51, the bristles 74 or 76 extend outwardly from the refill arm 16 through slots 71 formed in the refill arm with the rows of bristles being mounted on the bars which are actually located below the outer surface of refill arm 16.

[0092] FIGS. 53-56 illustrate one technique for causing the laterally arranged bars 64,66,68 and 70 to reciprocate back and forth while the primary tuft block 12 reciprocates rotationally. As shown therein, and as previously described, the drive shaft 36 has its crank end 40 mounted in slot 38 of primary tuft block 12 to cause the primary tuft block 12 to oscillate rotationally on its post or shaft 42. This drive assembly which includes the rotating shaft 36 and its drive connection 38,40 thus causes the primary tuft block 12 to oscillate back and forth. A drive transmitting connection between the primary tuft block 12 and the secondary tuft block formed by bars 64,66,68 and 70 is achieved through the use of cams 78,80,82,84 mounted on drive shaft 36. FIGS. 54 and 56 illustrate how the cam 82 associated with bar 68 causes the bar to shift laterally while drive shaft 36 rotates. As shown therein, the refill arm 16 includes a recess 88 of sufficient size to permit the lateral back and forth shifting in a direction perpendicular to drive shaft 36 and the longitudinal axis of handle extension 18. Cam 82 is located in a slot or cutout 86 in bar 68. As shown in FIG. 54 the cam 82 is in its centered condition with the cam located upwardly from drive shaft 36. FIG. 54 also shows in phantom the cam rotated 180° which would still result in the bar 68 being in its centered condition.

[0093]FIG. 56 illustrates in solid lines the cam 82 rotated 90° from its centered condition which in FIG. 56 would cause the bar 68 to shift to the right to its extreme right-hand most position. FIG. 56 shows in phantom the position of the cam and the slot or cutout 86 when the cam 82 is shifted 180° from the position shown in FIG. 56 which would then cause the bar 68 to be shifted to its extreme leftmost position. Accordingly, while shaft 36 rotates 360° this rotation is transmitted by crank end 40 to cause a rotational oscillation of primary tuft block 12 and the rotating cam 82 causes a lateral oscillation of bar 68.

[0094] Cam 82 and cam 78 are mounted identically to each other on shaft 36. As a result bars 64 and 68 move in unison in the same direction as each other. Conversely, cams 80 and 84 are configured and mounted to be opposite cams 78 and 82 as shown in FIG. 55 so that when bars 64 and 68 move toward the right under the influence of their cams 78 and 82 the bars 66 and 70 move toward the left under their influence of their cams 80 and 84.

[0095]FIG. 55 illustrates each bar to be moved in a direction opposite to its adjacent bar. FIG. 55A, however, shows a variation wherein the cams are arranged so that pairs of adjacent bars move in the same direction. Thus, as shown in FIG. 55A the bars 64 and 66 move in the same direction while adjacent bars 68,70 move in the opposite direction.

[0096] If desired, the invention could be practiced with only a single bar moving back and forth in a lateral direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of handle 18. Preferably, however, sets of pairs of bars (such as illustrated in FIGS. 53, 55 and 55A) are the preferred practice of this invention. Each set of bars could be alternately arranged bars (as in FIG. 55) or could be adjacent bars (as in FIG. 55A). The invention, however, could be practiced with greater or lesser number of bars arranged in pairs or arranged for individual movement by modifying the cam location and shape on shaft 36. For example, a total of six reciprocating bars could be used arranged in two sets each having three alternately located bars or in three sets of adjacent bars. Such arrangement, however, would require a larger head size. The cams could also be located on shaft 36 so that, for example, each of the cams 78,80,82 and 84 is located on shaft 36 in a different angular orientation from each other whereby each of the bars would be oscillated out of unison with the other bars.

[0097] The various embodiments of FIGS. 21-56 may thus be practiced by modifying the drive shaft 36 to create a cam action to drive a series of horizontally aligned bristle rows. Preferably, the bristle rows 64,66,68,70 are connected into two subsets 64,68 and 66,70 that operate in opposing directions as the drive shaft 36 rotates. This resulting action in combination with the round oscillating block 12 creates enough movement to deliver additional oral health benefits like more efficacious cleaning, tooth polishing, and/or tooth whitening. The additional movements can also be enhanced by different bristle configurations and bristle materials as described. Further, by surrounding the bristles with rubber fingers 72 the fingers provide gum massage in addition to the action supplied by the extra bristle rows.

[0098] The construction changes that would be necessary to accomplish this new action would include a modification to the shape of the refill arm to accept the additional tuft blocks or bars located below the round oscillating block. The drive shaft would also be modified to create the cam action to drive the additional blocks. Other construction modifications would depend on the different bristle configurations included in the consumer-preferred design.

[0099] Where ramped bristles 74 are used, in addition to tapering the height of the bristles, the bristles could also be inclined either in the same or opposite to the inclination of the adjacent rows of bristles. Alternatively, the rows of bristles could include ramped bristles for one row with bristles of equal height for an adjacent row. Still further, instead of using individual tufts of bristles for a row a single cleaning element, such as an elongated rubber finger, could be used for one or more of the rows.

[0100] The invention has been described with respect to three different embodiments wherein in addition to the oscillation of the primary tuft block there is also an oscillation either rotationally or linearly in the same direction as the longitudinal axis of the handle or linearly in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the handle. The invention, however, may also be practiced where combinations of those forms of oscillation are achieved. Thus, for example, the side to side type of oscillation illustrated in FIGS. 53-56 could be accomplished by the utilization of cams on the drive shaft while the primary tuft block also causes either rotational and/or longitudinal linear oscillation as in the other embodiments or any combination thereof. The invention may also be practiced where instead of rotating, the primary tuft block oscillates back and forth parallel to the handle or side to side, although a rotational oscillation is preferred. It is also to be understood that while the invention has been described in its preferred manner of causing oscillation of the secondary tuft blocks other types of drive mechanisms may be used within the spirit of this invention.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification15/22.2, 15/22.1, 15/28
International ClassificationA61C17/34
Cooperative ClassificationA61C17/3454, A61C17/349, A61C17/222, A61C17/3436, A61C17/3445
European ClassificationA61C17/34B
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