US 3613698 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  lnventor Daniel W. Fox
2108 West Northview Ave., Phoenix, Ariz. 85021  Appl. No. 861,438  Filed Sept. 26, 1969  Patented Oct. 19, 1971  DENTAL HYGIENE UNIT 6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 132/84  Int. Cl .t A4511 44/18  Field of Search 132/84, 84.2,84.4;206/15.1;401/111,107,119,127,138, 150, 169, 176; 222/191; 15/137, 531
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,207,121 12/1916 Zeidler 401/150 1,420,581 6/1922 Schoneman 132/842 2,000,910 5/1935 Appelet al. 15/137 2,284,217 5/1942 Lieberthal 132/84 3,118,166 1/1969 Bell 15/531 Primary ExaminerLouis G. Mancene Assistant ExaminerGreg0ry E. McNeil! Att0rneys-Clarence A. OBrien and Harvey B. Jacobson ABSTRACT: An inclusive dental hygiene unit adapted to be carried on ones person. Within the compact case is a toothbrush and a replaceable disposable dispenser of paste dentifrice. A sliding action of the case end deposits a measured amount of the dentifrice upon the bristles of the toothbrush and simultaneously ejects the upper portion of the brush into usable position.
DENTAL HYGIENE UNIT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to the art and science of dentistry.
More particularly, the invention concerns a device to facilitate proper dental hygiene.
In a further aspect, the invention concerns a personal dental hygiene unit adapted to be carried upon one s person.
The enlightened society, in response to the frequent remonstrations of the dental association, are extremely conscious of the importance of proper dental hygiene. Acceptable practice dictates that a person brushes his teeth after each meal. This requires that he carry the necessary implements and supplies on abbreviated or extended journeys and during his daily sojourns into the work, business, or social community.
Generally, extended journeys pose little problem as the toothbrush and container of dentifrice may be packed with other personal items. Nevertheless, they are not usually within convenient access during the trip and there is always the possibility of dentifrice leakage, as from a ruptured toothpaste tube, to besmear and taint adjacent personal effects and clothing. During a person s daily routine, it is extremely inconvenient, if not impossible, to carry a toothbrush and container of dentifrice on his person.- Carrying space within ones clothing is limited and, of course, there is always the possibility of rupturing a toothpaste tube within the pocket. 7
Prior art devices have been proposed to alleviate the foregoing difficulties and provide portability to the dental hygiene package. One such device offers a case in which to house a folding toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. While supplying the necessities, this device demands the brush and dentifrice be separate and in an ungainly container not conducive to pocket storage. Other prior art devices known as fountain type brushes are extremely compact and store the dentifrice within the handle of the toothbrush. However, there is an inherent limitation on the type of dentifrice compatible with the system design, and during use the dentifrice is delivered to the base of the bristles where it is sufficiently ineffectual to question the effectiveness of the brushing process.
Consequently, due to the inconvenience and deficiencies of present portable dental hygiene devices, brushing after each meal remains as only an admonition of the dental association except for those at home during mealtime.
It would be highly advantageous, therefore, to provide a conveniently stowable and usable unit for effective dental hygiene.
SUMMARY OF THE lNVENTlON Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a personal dental hygiene unit.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a compact portable dental hygiene unit adapted to be carried on ones person.
A further object of the present invention is the provision of a dental hygiene unit having a self-contained dentifrice which is automatically dispensed in a measured amount into proper position upon the bristles of the toothbrush prior to use.
Yet a further object of the present invention is the provision of a dental hygiene unit of the above type in which the depleted supply of dentifrice may be quickly and conveniently replenished.
Yet a still further object of the present invention is to provide a dental hygiene unit of the above type having esthetic value, practicality, and yet be relatively inexpensive to manufacture.
In order to accomplish the desired objectives of my present invention, in accordance with a preferred embodiment thereof, I first provide a generally rectangular elongate housing or case, having a frontal end opening and a rearward end opening. A first longitudinal cavity extends between the frontal opening and the rearward opening proximate one side of the case with an upwardly directed enlargement near the frontal end thereof. A second cavity substantially parallel to the first cavity extends inwardly from the rearward opening of the case substantially parallel to the first cavity for a proportionate length of the case. A removable end cap encompasses the rearward end of the case and is slidable along a portion thereof.
Next I provide a toothbrush having a stem slidable within the first cavity and a bristle section containable within the enlargement of said first cavity. A generally elongate replaceable dentifrice container, of the disposable type, having a frontal end and a rearward end and a longitudinal central conduit extending therebetween, is housed within the second cavity. The rearward end of the dentifrice container is sealed by an end plate slidable within the walls of the container and having a central opening to permit passage of the conduit. The frontal end of the container is sealed by a recessed end plate containing a pair of ball check valves to permit passage of the dentifrice from within into the recess which is sealingly engaged at its perimeter to the forward end of the second cavity.
A conduit within the housing communicates between the forward wall of the second cavity and the upper frontal area of the enlargement of the-first cavity. A ball check valve within this conduit, and a flapper valve at its terminus, permit fluidic flow from the second cavity to the first cavity. The terminus of the conduit and the flapper valve connected thereto are positioned over the top of the forward edge of the bristles of the toothbrush when said brush is fully encased within the first cavity.
A plunger operatable within the conduit of the dentifrice container and terminating near the frontal end thereof is secured at its rearwardmost portion to the base of the end cap. A foraminous door slidable within opposed grooved tracks provides a closure for the frontal opening of the case. The stem end of the toothbrush has a downwardly biased spring leg normally housed within the case and cap.
In operation, first the sliding door is pushed upwardly and rearwardly to expose the frontal enlargement of the first cavity. Then the end cap is withdrawn t0 the rear where it is retained from separation of the case by a small detent. During this operation, as the plunger is withdrawn within the dentifrice conduit, a void is closed within the recessed end of the dentifrice container. The dentifrice, normally toothpaste, urges the ball check valves open and passes into the recess. As the paste is withdrawn from the container, the sliding end plate advances forwardly a corresponding distance. Concurrently, the end cap has passed beyond the end of the stem of the toothbrush permitting the downwardly biased spring leg thereof to relax into an interference position with the leading edge of the end cap.
As the cap is pushed forwardly, the plunger exerts force within the dentifrice container conduit. The resultant back pressure closes the container check valves prohibiting return of the paste to the container and opening the check valve within the housing conduit. The paste passes through the housing conduit and is expelled into the flapper valve at the terminus thereof. Simultaneously, with the immediately foregoing described action, the leading edge of the end cap slides the toothbrush forward within the first cavity. The length of the stroke of the end cap is coincident with the length of the bristle section of the toothbrush. Toothpaste is therefore expelled from the terminus of the conduit during the time the upper portion of the bristles are passing thereunder and subsequently a layer of toothpaste is deposited substantially from one end of the bristle end of the toothbrush to the other.
The end cap is now in its forwardmost position and the bristle section and associated stem portion of the toothbrush are in a position ejected from the forward end of the case. A simple thumb index finger grip is now employed to eject the toothbrush its total working length. A spring detent within the housing engages a notch within the toothbrush stem to prevent total extraction of the toothbrush from the case. The sloping forward face of the spring leg of the toothbrush stem earns the leg upwardly within the first cavity.
After use the toothbrush bristle section is rinsed in the normal manner and finger pressure upon the forward edge of the toothbrush retracts same to total enclosure within the case. During the return of the toothbrush, the end cap is not disturbed. The frontal sliding door is then closed to prevent inclusion of dirt into the cavity and the toothbrush bristles, however, the foraminous portion of the door permits passage of air to dry the bristles and prevent contamination.
To replace dentifrice containers, the end cap is completely removed by extra force to override its detent. The expended container is withdrawn rearwardly from the second cavity and disposed of. A new container is inserted, recessed end first, into the cavity into the end cap replaced while urging gently upward on the spring leg of the stem of the toothbrush, to prevent accidental ejection of same. The dental hygiene unit is now ready for use as heretofore operationally described.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The previously stated objects and further and more specific objects and advantages of the invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of a presently preferred embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view chosen for purposes of illustrating a dental hygiene unit constructed embodying the present invention as it would appear in condition for carrying upon ones person;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the frontal portion of the dental hygiene unit with the toothbrush extracted in the usable position;
FIG. 3 is a rear three-quarter perspective view of the device of FIG. 1 with the end cap thereof removed and particularly illustrating the replaceable disposable dentifrice container;
FIG. 4 is an elevational view in section taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1 and especially detailing the operative elements of the present invention; and
FIG. 5 is an elevational view in section corresponding to FIG. 4 during an operative stage of the device.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Turning now to the drawings in which the same reference character indicates corresponding elements throughout the several views, FIG. I is a perspective view of a dental hygiene unit constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention and shows the substantially rectangular elongate housing or case generally designated by the reference numeral and having a removable end cap 1 l encompassing the rearward end thereof. A flexible door 12 having openings therein disposed in grooves 13 provides a closure for the frontal end of the case 10. A spring metal clip 14 on one side of the case 10 accommodates the case when carried within the pocket.
FIGS. 2 and 5 show the door 12 in the open position to permit ejection of the toothbrush 17. It is noted in FIG. 2 that the bristle section 18 of the toothbrush 17 contains a layer of dentifrice l9 having been deposited simultaneously with the ejection of the toothbrush.
FIG. 3 illustrates the end cap 11 having been removed from the case 10 to permit insertion or exchange of the cartridgetype dentifrice container 20. Elongate openings 21 disposed on opposed sides of the rearward end of the case 10 permit gripping the container for removal from the case. The significance of FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 will become readily apparent when viewed in conjunction with the following figures hereinafter described in greater detail.
FIG. 4 specifically details the operative elements of the device of FIG. I when in the closed or carrying position. The stem 22 of the toothbrush I7 is slidably encased within a first cavity 23 of the case 10. An upwardly extending enlargement 24 of the cavity 23 provides a housing for the bristle section 18 of the toothbrush 17. A downwardly biased spring leg 27 integral with the rearward end of the stem 22 of the toothbrush 17 is normally housed within the end cap 11. It is particularly noted that the interior surface of the end cap 11 forms an unbroken continuation of the end cavity 23 thus allowing the spring leg 27 to freely pass from the cavity 23 into the end cap 11 during the retraction phase. A second cavity 28 houses the dentifrice container 20 within the case 10. A front end plate 29 having a recess 30 forms the front cover for the dentifrice container 20 and sealingly engages the frontal wall 31 of the cavity 28 when the dentifrice container is fully inserted. Ball check valves 32 located within the front end plate 29 control flow of the dentifrice from the container 20. An axial conduit 33 subtends the length of the container 20. An end plate 34, sealingly engaged within periphery wall 37 of the container 20 and around the conduit 33 of the container 20, and slidable therewith, forms the rearward end cover for said container.
A detent 38 integral with the end cap 11 engages a notch 39 within the outer wall of the case 10 to retain the end cap II in the closed position. A second notch 40 interacts with the dctent 38 to prevent accidental removal of the end cap 11. A plunger 41 secured at its rearward end to the inner base of the end cap 11 extends substantially through the conduit 33 and slides within close proximity to the interior wall thereof.
A second conduit defined by the passage 42 communicates between the frontal wall 31 of the cavity 28 and the upper frontal area of the forward enlargement 24. A flapper valve 43 is carried at the terminus of the passage 42. A ball 44 normally held in the closed position by a spring 47 forms a second ball check valve which serves to control fluidic flow between the cavity 28 and the enlargement 24 of the cavity 23.
FIG. 5 depicts the dental hygiene unit of FIG. 4 and the operative elements thereof as shown during the initial stages of the ejection of the toothbrush. The resilient door 12 has been retracted upwardly and rearwardly within the grooves 13 to expose the front opening of the case 10. The end cap 11 is first moved in the direction of the arrow A until the detent 38 enters the notch 40. During this operation the forward edge of the end cap 11 moves past the rearward end of the spring leg 27 permitting same to relax downwardly into an interference position with the edge 48. Simultaneously, as the plunger 41 is withdrawn within the conduit 33, a semivacuum is created therein impelling the ball check valves 32 to open permitting flow of the dentifrice 19 into the recess 30and partially into the conduit 33. It is particularly noted in this view that a relative quantity of the dentifrice I9 has been extracted from the container 20 and the end plate 34 has moved forward an amount relative to the displaced dentifrice.
As the end cap is urged forwardly in the direction of the arrow B there are several coincident interactions. Pressure upon the dentifrice 19 within the cavity 30 and the conduit 33 as dictated by the plunger 41 seats the check valves 32. Further pressure exerted by the plunger 40 acts upon the ball 44 to compress the spring 47 forcing the excess dentifrice 19 into the passage 42. This fluidic flow dislodges the flapper valve 43 and subsequently deposits the dentifrice upon the upper edge of the bristles 18 of the toothbrush 17. Simultaneously, the toothbrush I7 is urged forwardly by the interaction between the spring leg 27 and the forward edge 48 of the end cap 11. As the spring leg 27 proceeds forwardly the sloping forward edge of the tang 49 thereof overrides the edge of the lower wall of the case 10.
The end cap is continuously urged forwardly until the detent 38 engages the notch 39. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the spacing between the notches 39 and 40, thus the limit of the end cap 11, coincides with the length of the bristle section 18, as denoted by the dimension line C. to insure that dentifrice is deposited substantially along the length of the upper edge of the bristle section and flow discontinued at the rearward edge thereof.
After the end cap 11 is in the rest or forwardmost position and the bristle section 18 of the toothbrush I7 is ejected beyond the frontal end of the case l0, pressure directly upon the stem 22 extracts the toothbrush to its forwardmost position as determined by the second detent 50 engaging the notch 51. The biased forward edge of the detent 50 allows easy retraction of the toothbrush while prohibiting total extraction thereof.
While no mention in the foregoing detailed description of the present invention has been made of the materials employed therein, it is obvious that numerous media may be used. Due to the action of the detents 38 and 50 and the flapper valve 43, a semiresilient material, as for example a synthetic polymer, would facilitate an integrally molded unit. However, the base units could be constructed of a more rigid material having spring or resilient inserts where mandatory.
Various other changes in the device herein chosen for purposes of illustration in the drawings will readily occur to persons skilled in the art having regard to the disclosure hereof.
To the extend that such modifications and variations do not depart from the spirit of the invention, they are intended to be included within the scope hereof which is not limited to the device specifically illustrated but rather only by a fair interpretation of the following claims.
Having fully described and disclosed the invention and the preferred embodiment thereof in such clear and concise terms as to enable those skilled in the art to understand and practice the same, l claim:
I. In combination, an elongated housing defining a longitudinal toothbrush-receiving chamber opening outwardly of one end of said housing, a toothbrush disposed lengthwise in and extendable and retractable relative to one end of said chamber with the bristle end of said toothbrush disposed for first extension relative to said chamber, a paste reservoir in said housing including an outlet, paste delivery means in said housing for conveying paste from said reservoir to the bristle end of said toothbrush and including a passage communicated at one end portion with said outlet and having its other end opening into the open end portion of said chamber and registered with the first extended end portion of the bristle end of the toothbrush, paste pump means operatively associated with said reservoir and passage for pumping paste from the reservoir through said passage, said pump means including a single-action pistontype actuator reciprocal longitudinally of said housing and movable in one direction during its priming stroke and in the opposite direction during its pumping stroke, said passage outlet end and said bristle end of said toothbrush being supported for relative displacement longitudinally of said housing during movement of said actuator through its pumping stroke with one of said passage outlet and bristle ends supported in stationary position relative to said housing and the other of said ends movable along said housing with said actuator, whereby as paste is discharged from the outlet end of said passage the discharged paste will be spread along said bristle end of the toothbrush.
2. In combination, an elongated housing having front and rear ends and including side-by-side longitudinal first and second cavities, the front end of said second cavity terminating a spaced distance from the front end of said housing and the front end of the first cavity including a lateral extension disposed in front of the front end of the second cavity and opening forwardly through the front end of said housing, said second cavity defining a paste reservoir and having a paste outlet in the front end thereof, a toothbrush including handle and bristle ends disposed in said first cavity and extendable and retractable relative to said front end of said housing with said bristle end projecting into said extension when said brush is retracted relative to said front end of said housing, and paste-conveying means including a reciprocal pump portion operative to pump paste from said reservoir to a discharge point opening into the foreward end of said extension at the side thereof remote from the first cavity side of said housing.
3. The combination of claim 2 wherein said conveying means includes passage means for conveying paste from said reservoir to said discharge point.
4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said housing defines a pressure chamber disposed forward of said first cavity and between the latter and said extension, said paste outlet opening into said chamber and having first one-way check valve means operatively associated therewith, a pumping chamber communicated with said pressure chamber, a reciprocal piston member slidable over said pumping chamber, the inlet end of said passage means opening into said pressure chamber and second one-way check valve means operatively associated with said passage means operable to prevent reverse flow of the paste therethrough into said pressure chamber.
5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said reciprocal piston member is reciprocal longitudinally of said housing, an actuator for said piston member including portions thereof disposed exteriorly of said housing and mounted for reciprocation along the latter and connected to the piston member, said toothbrush handle end and said actuator including coacting means operable to at least initially project the toothbrush from the front end of said housing during forward movement of the actuator relative to the housing, the piston member and actuator being movable rearwardly along the housing during the priming stroke of said piston member and forwardly along said housing during the pumping stroke of said piston member whereby paste will be discharged from the outlet end of said passage means at said discharge point as said toothbrush is initially projected from said front end of said housing.
6. The combination of claim 5 wherein said toothbrush and housing include coacting means operable to yieldingly retain said toothbrush against full extension from said front end of said housing.