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Publication numberUS20060080799 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/967,528
Publication dateApr 20, 2006
Filing dateOct 18, 2004
Priority dateOct 18, 2004
Publication number10967528, 967528, US 2006/0080799 A1, US 2006/080799 A1, US 20060080799 A1, US 20060080799A1, US 2006080799 A1, US 2006080799A1, US-A1-20060080799, US-A1-2006080799, US2006/0080799A1, US2006/080799A1, US20060080799 A1, US20060080799A1, US2006080799 A1, US2006080799A1
InventorsFrank Lucente
Original AssigneeFrank Lucente
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toothbrush featuring bristles with raised annular portions
US 20060080799 A1
Abstract
A brush bristle is disclosed having one or more raised annular portions along its shaft. The bristle is intended for use in toothbrushes where the raised annular portions provide increased scraping and cleaning actions. This bristle may be used with other types of bristle in various configurations. The bristle may also be formed into a loop when mounted in toothbrushes.
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Claims(20)
1. A toothbrush bristle, comprising:
a) a first end;
b) a second end;
c) and an enlarged cross section proximate said second end;
d) wherein said first end is fixed into the head of said toothbrush, and said second end extends from the head of said toothbrush.
2. The toothbrush bristle of claim 1 wherein:
the diameter of said enlarged cross section is larger than the thickness of said enlarged cross section so that said enlarged cross section appears like a disk or annulus placed on said toothbrush bristle.
3. The toothbrush bristle of claim 1 wherein:
the diameter of said enlarged cross section is the same as the thickness of said enlarged cross section so that said enlarged cross section appears as a bead or sphere placed on said toothbrush bristle.
4. The toothbrush bristle of claim 1 wherein:
said enlarged cross section has its greatest thickness at the shaft of said bristle and tapers to a point at the largest diameter of said enlarged cross section.
5. A toothbrush bristle, comprising:
a) a first end;
b) a second end; and
c) a helical ridge on the surface of said bristle running from said first end to said second end.
6. A toothbrush bristle, comprising:
a) a generally elongated shaft having a mostly constant diameter;
b) a first end on said elongated shaft;
c) a second end on said elongated shaft; and
d) one or more portions on said generally elongated shaft where said mostly constant diameter increases to enlarge the cross section of said bristle at said portions.
7. The toothbrush bristle of claim 6 wherein:
the diameter of said portions is larger than the thickness of said portions so that said portions appear like disks or annuluses placed on said toothbrush bristle.
8. The toothbrush bristle of claim 6 wherein:
the diameter of said portions is the same as the thickness of said portions so that said portions appear as beads or spheres placed on said toothbrush bristle.
9. The toothbrush bristle of claim 6 wherein:
said portions have their greatest thickness at the shaft of said bristle and taper to a point at the largest diameter of portions.
10. A toothbrush having toothbrush bristles comprising;
a) a generally elongated shaft having a mostly constant diameter;
b)a first end on said elongated shaft;
c) a second end on said elongated shaft; and
d) a series of portions on said generally elongated shaft where said mostly constant diameter increases to enlarge the cross section of said bristle at said portions, e) wherein said first end and said second end of said bristle are both anchored in the head of said toothbrush to form loops extending up from said head of toothbrush.
11. The toothbrush of claim 10 wherein:
the diameter of said portions is larger than the thickness of said portions so that said portions appear like disks or annuluses placed on said toothbrush bristle.
12. The toothbrush of claim 10 wherein:
the diameter of said portions is the same as the thickness of said portions so that said portions appear as beads or spheres placed on said toothbrush bristle.
13. The toothbrush of claim 10 wherein:
said portions have their greatest thickness at the shaft of said bristle and taper to a point at the largest diameter of portions.
14. A toothbrush bristle having one or more raised annular portions.
15. A toothbrush having one or more bristles, a portion of said bristles having one or more raised annular portions.
16. A toothbrush as in claim 15, wherein;
said bristles are arranged on an area of said toothbrush and wherein said portion of bristles having one or more raised annular portions are located in a band on the perimeter of said area.
17. A toothbrush as in claim 15, wherein;
said bristles are arranged on an area of said toothbrush and wherein said portion of bristles having one or more raised annular portions are located in the interior of said area.
18. A toothbrush as in claim 15, wherein;
said bristles having one or more raised annular portions are longer than the other bristles.
19. A toothbrush as in claim 15, wherein;
said bristles having one or more raised annular portions are shorter than the other bristles.
20. A toothbrush comprising;
a brush area consisting of loops, said loops being forming from coiling a long bristle filament, the coil forming said loops, said bristle filament having one or more raised annular portions.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a toothbrush. Specifically, this invention relates to a toothbrush modified such that some, or all, of the bristles include raised annular portions for assisting the clean the users teeth.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Brushing our teeth, such a commonplace activity today, has been around for a long time. Egyptians were already concerned about their dental hygiene. We discovered that tombs from 3000 years before Christ contained small tree branches whose ends had been frayed into soft fibers. The true ancestor of our toothbrush was invented by the Chinese in the 15th century and brought back to Europe by travelers. The toothbrush was made of hairs from the neck of a Siberian wild boar which were fixed to a bamboo or bone handle. At the time, very few people in the Western world brushed their teeth, and those who did preferred horse hairs, which were softer than those of the wild boar. In Europe, it was more customary after meals to use a goose feather toothpick, or one made of silver or copper.

French dentists promoted the European use of a toothbrush in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The first toothbrush mass-produced was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England. Addis, and later, his descendants, manufactured the finest English brushes, where the handles were carved out of the bone of cattle and the heads of the natural bristles were obtained from the necks and shoulders of swine, especially from pigs living in colder climates like Siberia and China.

The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth in 1857. Companies began to mass-produce toothbrushes in America around 1885. The Pro-phy-lac-tic brush made by the Florence Manufacturing Company of Massachusetts is a good example of an early American made toothbrush. The same company was also the first to sell toothbrushes packages in boxes.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

In 1937, in Du Pont de Nemours laboratories, nylon was invented by Wallace H. Carothers. In 1938, this material became the symbol of modernism and prosperity through the commercialization of nylon stockings and of Dr. West's Miracle Toothbrush with nylon bristles. Later, Americans were influenced by the disciplined hygiene habits of soldiers from World War II. They became increasingly concerned with the practice of good oral hygiene and quickly adopted the nylon toothbrush. At first, even if there were many advantages to using this new toothbrush, consumers were not entirely satisfied. The nylon bristles were too stiff and hurt the gums. In 1950, Du Pont improved their toothbrush by giving it softer bristles.

Today the various types and colors of toothbrushes on the market are almost endless. The ways in which toothbrushes are frequently varied include: the handle shape and material; the arrangement of the bristles, the bristle materials, and the shape of the bristles themselves; and added features such as gum massagers or floss holders. With regard to the bristles, by far the most common variation in shape in bristles has to do with changing the cross-section perpendicular to the long dimension of the bristles.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,295,156 by J. H. France is a very early example of changing the bristle shape. It does not, however, change only the contour of a bristle but rather splits the free end of the bristle into several smaller shafts, which are denoted in the patent as flags. The specification states that the benefit of these flags are an additional wiping action produced during the brushing process. The materials cited for this type of bristle is generally synthetic fibers commonly used to make such bristles. The bristles in the France patent may be mixed in with typical bristles or all the bristles may have the frayed ends as claimed in the France patent. Embodiments are also described wherein the bristles with the frayed end are longer than the more typical bristles in the mix which are shorter and more stiff. Thus, the frayed bristles flex until the stiffer bristles make contact with the brushed surface. This is said to lead to an improved toothbrush.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,671,381 by J. E. Hanson etches the surface of bristles by subjecting them to steam in a steam tube. The etching produces ridges predominantly transverse to the length of the bristle, and this is intended to create a more abrasive bristle for better cleaning of the teeth. The pattern of ridges created on the bristles is essentially random and the height of the ridges range from 0.2 mil to 0.5 mil.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,167,794 by Pomeroy is directed to modified ends on toothbrush bristles. Pomeroy forms shovel-like elements or spatula-like elements on the end of the bristle with the intent that these elements provide a scraping action or function, while the teeth are being brushed. These elements occur only at the end of Pomeroy, whereas the rest of the bristle maintains an essentially circular cross section. The shovel elements provide an edge transverse to the axis of the bristles, and it is this edge that is intended to provide the scraping action.

Somewhat similar to the invention by Pomeroy where spatula or shovel-like elements are formed at the end of the bristles, are the patents by Gueret, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,927,281 and 5,020,551. The Gueret bristles, however, are directed to a different field, namely, the application of cosmetics or mascara. However, the similarity is that the ends of the bristles are treated to form particular cross-sections with the intent of improving their functionality in their application. Gueret also uses bristles of various cross-sections that are constant along the length. These cross sections include crosses and clover leafs, among others. The bristle ends are treated by grinding or other means to reshape the ends to improve on the application of cosmetics.

There are a great many patents in the art which focus on the cross section of the brush bristle. However, these have a constant cross section bristle. The entire length of these bristles do not vary in their cross sectional area at different points of the bristle. Thus, these bristles may provide additional abrasion when a bent bristle shaft is move laterally across a dental surface, but not when the bent bristle is moved along the length of the bristle shaft.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The most typical toothbrush bristle has a straight shaft and is made of a synthetic material. When in use, the bristles on the toothbrush are by necessity bent when compressed against dental surfaces. The result is that much of the contact between the bristle and a dental surface during the stroke of a toothbrush is between the shafts of the bristles and the dental surface. The straight shaft of a typical bristle has low abrasive characteristics. The end of the bristle has greater scraping capability, but its ability to clean is affected by whether the bristle is being pulled away from the direction it is bent or pushed toward the direction it is bent. If a bristle is pulled away from the direction it is bent while in contact with a dental surface, the end has less ability to engage the dental surface. If the bristle is pushed toward the direction in which it is bent, the end can provide a scraping action on the surface and work to clean it. At any given time only a portion of bristles will be pushed in the direction they are bent and these may actually change their orientation as the toothbrush is moved.

The present invention addresses the lack of abrasiveness of bristle shafts by providing raised annular portions on the shaft of the bristle. The raised annular portions are then in contact with the dental surface when the bristle is bent and provide an enhanced scraping action. The bristle shaft may have one raised annular portion or more than one. The shapes of the raised annular portions may also vary. Possible cross sections of these annular portions include disk, spherical, and triangular. In an alternative embodiment, the raised annular portion may be a continuous helical ridge along the entire length of the bristle. A similar embodiment has multiple helical ridges.

As discussed above, the method and device of the present invention overcomes the disadvantages inherent in prior art methods and devices. In the respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

Accordingly, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this invention is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the design of other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit of the present invention.

Furthermore, the purpose of the foregoing Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially including the practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection, the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The Abstract is neither intended to define the invention of the application, nor is it intended to be limiting to the scope of the invention in any way.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional utility and features of the invention will become more fully apparent to those skilled in the art by reference to the following drawings, which illustrate the primary features of the preferred embodiment and numerous alternative embodiments.

FIG. 1 shows the bristle of the present invention having disk shaped raised annular portions according to the preferred embodiment.

FIG. 2 shows a toothbrush with bristles of the common prior art bent in contact with a dental surface.

FIG. 3 shows both a bristle of the present invention and a prior art bristle bent in contact with a dental surface.

FIG. 4 shows a toothbrush having bristles of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows a bristle of the present invention having multiple disk shaped raised annular portions.

FIG. 6 shows a bristle of the present invention having a spherical raised annular portion.

FIG. 7 shows a bristle of the present invention having multiple spherical raised annular portions.

FIG. 8 shows a bristle of the present invention having a ridged raised annular portion.

FIG. 9 shows a bristle of the present invention having multiple ridged raised annular portions.

FIG. 10 shows a bristle of the present invention having helical ridge running the length of the bristle.

FIG. 11 shows a toothbrush having a band of bristles of the present invention surrounding bristles of common prior art.

FIG. 12 shows a toothbrush having a band of common prior art bristles surrounding bristles of the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a toothbrush having areas of bristles of the present invention arranged in alternating areas with common prior art bristles wherein the bristles of the present invention are shorter.

FIG. 14 shows a toothbrush having bristles of the present invention intermixed with common prior art bristles wherein the bristles of the present invention are longer.

FIG. 15 shows a toothbrush having longer prior art bristles at either end of its bristled area and a mixture of bristles of the present invention and common prior art bristles wherein the bristles of the present invention are longer than the common prior art bristles in the mixture.

FIG. 16 shows a toothbrush having bristles of the present invention with those bristles being formed into loops.

FIG. 17 shows a toothbrush with looped bristles of the present invention having common prior art bristles fixed between rows of the loops.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The detailed description below is for preferred embodiments and is intended to explain the current invention. It is to be understood that a variety of other arrangements are also possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Where appropriate, the same numbers may be used in different illustrations.

FIG. 1 shows the bristle of the present invention, indicated generally by 10. The bristle 10 has a shaft 15 with a raised annular portion 20. The raised annular portion 20 is located intermediate the free end 25 and the fixed end 30 of the shaft 15. The raised annular portion 20 may have a range of diameters and the specific profile has a large number of possible profiles as well.

FIG. 2 shows a toothbrush 35 having bristles 40 which are consistent with the prior art. The toothbrush 35 is shown in use with the bristles 40 brushing a dental surface 45. The bristles 40 are bent as would be expected and the shafts of the bristles 40 are contacting the dental surface 45. The ends of the bristles have greater scraping ability than the shafts, but depending on which direction the brush 35 is moved from the shown position, the ends may not engage the dental surface. Even if the brush 35 is move in the direction that the bristles 40 are pointed the bristles 40 may reorient themselves to align with the change in direction of the pressure.

FIG. 3 shows a bristle 10 of the instant invention and a bristle 40 consistent with the current prior art. Both are in flexed contact with dental surface 45. Whereas the end 50 of the bristle 40 of the current prior art may or may not engage dental surface 45, the raised annular portion 20 of the bristle 10 of the current invention will remain engaged with dental surface 45 regardless of which direction it is moved. This ensures more abrasive brushing of dental surfaces. FIG. 4 shows a toothbrush 35 having all bristles 10 of the current invention.

FIGS. 5 through 10 show alternative embodiments of bristle 10 of the current invention. In FIG. 1, raised annular portion 20 has a disk-like shape. FIG. 5 shows a bristle 10 having three raised annular portions 20 with a similar disk-like shape. FIG. 6 shows a bristle 10 having a raised annular portion 20 with a spherical shape, while FIG. 7 shows a bristle 10 having three such spherical raised annular portions 20. Similarly, FIGS. 8 and 9 show bristle 10 with a single raised annular portion and three raised annular portions, respectively, wherein the raised annular portions have a triangular profile from the shaft 15 to the outer end of raised annular portion 20. FIG. 10 shows bristle 10 having a continuous helical ridge 20 running the length of shaft 15. This helical ridge 20 has a profile similar to that of raised annular portion 20 of FIG. 8. The embodiments with multiple raised annular portions provide additional cleans edges when bristle 10 is flexed, particularly when applied at a corner.

In FIGS. 11 and 12, a toothbrush is shown having a typical rectangular brush area, but comprising bristles 10 of the present invention and bristles 40 of the prior art. In FIG. 11, the rectangular brush area has a band of bristles 10 of the present invention defining the perimeter of the brush area while the interior of the brush area is comprised of bristles 40 of the prior art. Conversely, FIG. 12 shows the rectangular brush area with a band of bristles 40 of the prior art defining the perimeter of the brush area, while the interior of the brush area comprises bristles 10 of the present invention.

FIGS. 14 and 15 further illustrate alternative embodiments of toothbrush 35 utilizing bristles 10 of the present invention in combination with bristles 40 of the prior art. FIG. 14 shows alternating bands of the two types of bristles wherein the bristles 10 of the present invention are shorter than the bristles 40 of the prior art. The relative lengths of the bristles could be reversed in another embodiment or the two types of bristles could be of the same length. FIG. 14 shows an embodiment of toothbrush 35 where the two types of bristles are intermixed. In FIG. 14, the bristles 10 of the present invention are longer than the bristles 40 of the prior art. However, the relative lengths of the two types of bristles could be reversed or of the same length.

In FIG. 15, a toothbrush with bristles 10 of the present invention and bristle 40 of the prior art is shown in use on dental surfaces. This embodiment, having a typical rectangular brush area, has bristles of three different lengths with two of those lengths allotted to bristles 40 of the prior art. In the central brush area, a mixture of bristles 10 of the current invention and bristles 40 of the prior art are intermixed with bristles 10 of the current invention being longer, so that raised annular portions 20 contact the dental surface 45, while ends 50 of bristles 40 of the prior art contact dental surface 45. On each end or the brush area are longer bristles 55 which are bristles consistent with the prior art but longer than those intermixed in the central area of the brush area. These bristles would function to reach deeper into spaces between dental surfaces 45.

In addition to applying the bristles of the present invention in such a manner where one end is anchored in a toothbrush and the other end remains free, loops may be formed from the bristles by anchoring both ends. This is illustrated in FIG. 16, where loops 60 are formed by anchoring both ends of bristles 10 into toothbrush 35. It is preferred in this, and similar embodiments, that loops 60 be formed from bristles 10 shown in FIGS. 7, 9, and 10. Loops 60 have several raised annular portions 20 on them and provide several scraping surfaces per loop 60. Several rows of loops may be used to approximate the typical brush area of a toothbrush of the prior art.

In addition to a toothbrush having only loops formed from bristles, loops and bristles may be intermixed. This embodiment is shown in FIG. 17 where toothbrush 35 has clusters of bristles 40 of the prior art alternating with rows of loops 60. Other embodiments may use bristles made according to the present invention intermixed with bristles of the prior art in varying ratios of length as well. In addition to separate loops formed from individual bristles 10, a row of loops 60 could be made by coiling a single long bristle so that each round of the coil would be like a single loop 60.

Having provided detailed descriptions of the preferred embodiment, it should be noted that there are several means to vary the specific sizing and spacing but still accomplish the construction of the invention. It should be obvious from this that there are numerous embodiments subsumed in the present invention and the scope of this invention should not be limited by the discussion of the preferred embodiment above.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8438689Sep 7, 2010May 14, 2013Noble Ideas Ii, Inc.Brush and broom bristle
US8732889Jan 29, 2010May 27, 2014Colgate-Palmolive CompanyOral care implement
US20080066244 *Jun 15, 2007Mar 20, 2008Noble Edward JBrush and broom bristle
WO2008033957A2 *Sep 12, 2007Mar 20, 2008Edward J NobleBrush and broom bristle
WO2009083077A2 *Nov 26, 2008Jul 9, 2009Braun GmbhHairbrush
WO2010033208A1 *Sep 18, 2009Mar 25, 2010Almaguer Oscar RToothbrush with textured bristle
WO2011093874A1 *Jan 29, 2010Aug 4, 2011Colgate-Palmolive CompanyOral care implement
Classifications
U.S. Classification15/207.2, 15/167.1
International ClassificationA46B9/04
Cooperative ClassificationA46D1/00, A46D1/0284, A46D1/0253, A46B2200/1066, A46B9/06
European ClassificationA46D1/02G, A46D1/02L, A46D1/00