US 2491274 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 13, 1949 N. MCNEILI.
TONGUE CLEANING DEVIE Filed Oct. 9, 1948 Patented Dec. 13, 1949 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 1 Claim.
The present invention relates to a tongue cleaning device and has for its primary object the provision of an implement particularly suited for cleaning the taste buds of the tongue and for the application of mouth Wash or similar medicinal solutions for the promotion of oral hygiene.
It is believed generally recognized that while the conventional toothbrush is quite ywell suited to the function of cleaning the teeth, yet it is not Well suited to the equally necessary operation of removing unpleasant coatings from the tongue and consequently falls short of accomplishing sufficiently thorough cleansing to be hygienically desirable.
It is accordingly the primary aim of this invention to provide an implement particularly suited to cleansing the tongue surfaces and removing any coating or foreign accumulation thereon, and, in addition, it is an aim to provide in the same device a convenient means of applying cleansing solutions or antiseptic. It is recognized that eorts along this line have been made in the past, but it is submitted that the prior devices used for this purpose, at least those known to the present applicant, have had certain inherent shortcomings that have rendered them unpleasant to use or unsatisfactory for their avowed purpose. No doubt this is the reason that While devices for this purpose are known in the published art, they have nevertheless failed to gain any degree of public acceptance.
It is a specific object of this invention to overcome the shortcomings -of prior types of devices by a novel construction including, in combination, several important departures from prior teachings which coact to result in a much improved and generally more satisfactory implement. In the first place, it is one of the objects of this invention to provide a cleaning implement so shaped that it is not only suited to cleaning the forward surfaces of the tongue but may be conveniently used to clean the back of the tongue as well, yet is so designed as to reach well back into the mouth Without causing choking or gagging. This involves the use of an oifset handle so that the cleaning member may be conveniently used, and further involves the provision of a cleansing member that is narrow, elongated and tapered in shape so that it may be applied well back on the tongue Without discomfort.
A further specific object is the provision of a cleansing implement wherein the handle and the operative portion of the implement are separable for cleaning for replacement, yet are rmly held together when in use. This involves the provision of an elastic cleansing sponge having an interior cavity shaped to iit over and engage an elongated tapered head on the inner end of the handle portion, and according to the teachings of this invention may also involve the provision of a plurality of projections extending outwardly from the handle head to engage the inner surfaces of the sponge and secure it firmly against accidental shifting.
Another specic object of the invention is the provision of a cleaning implement so designed that the member actually utilized for cleansing may be easily removed from the handle for washing and may be replaced at will. In addition, it is an aim of the invention to provide a cleansing element of an inherent nature such that it may be easily yet thoroughly washed, and consequently has little or no tendency to accumulate foreign matter. This involves the provision of a cleansing sponge in the form of a single piece of foam synthetic rubber which is porous throughout; that is, not only on its outer surface, but completely throughout the entire piece, with the interstices between the rubber filaments in communication throughout the entire body of the sponge so that water may be flowed through the sponge body unrestrictedly to remove all traces of foreign material. This is an important departure from certain known prior teachings which have included imperforate sheets or layers of cement which obviously prevents flow of water completely through the sponge body and consequently diminishes the eiciency of any washing operation.
The preferred form of the invention is illustrated in the drawing of this specification wherein:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of a tongue cleaning implement as here contemplated;
Figure 2 is a plan view thereof; with the cleansing sponge shown in section to illustrate the shape of the head portion of the handle;
Figure 3 is a detail plan view of one of the cleansing Sponges as contemplated by this disclosure; and
Figure 4 is a side elevation of the sponge shown in Figure 3.
The device includes in general a handle portion generally designated at I0 which may be of relatively stiff but strong material such as molded plastic, and a cleaning sponge Il which is of porous resilient nature and is preferably formed of a single piece of synthetic foam rubber. As disclosed, the handle is provided with a head or offset portion I2 and an enlarged iiat head I3 which, if desired, may be provided with outwardly extending projections I4 along its opposite edges to firmly engage the inside surfaces of the cleansing sponge II. This is desirable but not essential to the invention. It is to be noted, however, that the general shape of the handle head is elongated and tapered, so that it has a fairly wide outer portion adjacent the offset I2.. tapering to a narrower forward end I5.
The cleansing` sponge is also elongated and generally flat in shape, and its forward end I6. is preferably somewhat thinner as well as narrower than its rear portion II, so that it is notr only well suited to tting on a handle head. of the shape shown but is also of convenient shape for insertion well back into the mouth to:` clean the rearward surfaces of the tongue. The sponge includes an inside cavity or pocket I8 into which the head portion I3 of the handle is inserted for use, but it is to be noted? that the neck IS? of the cavity. is. narrower than the inner portion thereof', with. the result thatV when. the neck portion I9 is stretclfieol` over the head of the. handle it willy secure. the spongequiteirml-y in position so that itv is notv aptv to be dislodged during use. The outwardly extending proiections Il inthe handle a-id in, this function by engaging the pliant and yieldable. inner surfacev of the cleansing sponge to hold it nrrnly against unwanted shifting.
From the foregoing it is to be noted that the teachings of this invention provide a tongue cleaning implement having important practical advantages in several respects2 Inthe rst place, the implement is shaped` so that it may be inserted conveniently intoY the mouth: of the user and so that it may be positioned well back on the rear surfaces of his. tongue without choking ordiscomfort. It is also to be noted that the sponge rubber cleansing portion of the device is wellr suited to the application of antiseptics, mouth washesl or denta-lcleansing preparations so that, if desired, the sponge may be saturated with a cleansing solution to aid in: destroying bacteria or in sweetening the breath.
The porous; absorbent surface of the sponge is ideally suited for the purpose of cleansing the tongue andremovingV any foreign matter or mucous; coating therefrom, yet at the same time thef sponge itself may-be easily cleaned and freed of foreign materialsI by flowing water through it until all impurities are washed away. In this connection it will be seen that since the sponge is porous throughout and has all of its interstices in communication with each other, a free flow of water may be effected through it to bring about complete removal of foreign material. It may be noted in passing that it is even practical, if desired, to remove the sponge from the handle, now, waiter' in-t'o the internal* cavity so; that it will nowI outwardlythrough'- the sponge walls and, in effect, reverse flush the sponge throughout. It is also to be noted that while the handle of the device-may beA used almost indenitely the cleansing Sponges may be replaced from time to time and thatv this. replacement may be accomplished very easily by simply stretching the neck of the sponge sufficiently to bring it over the widened portions t4 of the head of the handle.
Having thus described the invention I claim:
In a tongue cleaning implement, in combination, a handle including an enlarged thin at head portion of elongated shape having a narrow forward end and substantially wider rearward end with anv offset portion interconnecting thev wider rear end of thel head tothe handle and with a plurality of outwardly extending projections along each side. of the head to engagea cleansing sponge fitted over theA head portion of the handle; saidsponge. consisting` oi a singlev piece of porous, resilient material. having interstices througl'iout its. entire mass and in communication with each other throughout;v said. sponge being generally flat and elongated insh-ape, with itsforward end. narrower than its rearwardY end and having, an interior pocket tted over the head of the. handlev portion and held in engagement. with the handle portion. solely by the, resilient material of the sponge.Y
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the le of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 982,232 Bartholomew Jan. 24, T911' 1,857,145 Funk. May l0; 1932