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Publication numberUS3699979 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 24, 1972
Filing dateApr 8, 1971
Priority dateApr 8, 1971
Also published asCA943775A, CA943775A1, DE2204736A1
Publication numberUS 3699979 A, US 3699979A, US-A-3699979, US3699979 A, US3699979A
InventorsMuhler Joseph C, Stookey George K
Original AssigneeIndiana University Foundation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Impregnated article for cleaning the interproximal surfaces of the teeth
US 3699979 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Muhler et al.

[ 51 Oct. 24, 1972 [54] IMPREGNATED ARTICLE FOR CLEANING THE INTERPROXIMAL SURFACES OF THE TEETH [72] Inventors: Joseph C. Muhler; George K.

Stookey, both of Indianapolis, Ind.

[73] Assignee: Indiana University Foundation,

Bloomington, Ind.

[22] Filed: April 8, 1971 [21] App]. No.: 132,442

[52] US. Cl ..132/89 [51] Int. Cl ..A61c 15/00 [581' Field of Search ..l32/89, 90, 91, 92; 117/102 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,700,636 1/ 1955 Ashton 167/93 3,491,776 1/1970 Fle'rning.... ..l32/89 2,772,205 11/1956 King 132/93 Primary Examiner-Louis G. Mancene Assistant Examiner-Gregory E. McNeill Attorney-Ronald L. Engel, Daniel W. Vittum, Jr., Gomer W. Walters, JohnA. Waters and James M. Amend [57] ABSTRACT ing the cleaning and polishing agent.

10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures 1 IMPREGNATED ARTICLE FOR CLEANING THE INTERPROXIMAL SURFACES or THE TEETH BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to articles for cleaning and polishing the interproximal surfaces of the teeth and more particularly to impregnated dental floss and dental tapes and methods of producing the same.

Description of the Prior Art Various materialshave heretofore been used to clean the interproximal spaces and surfaces of the teeth. For example, dental floss and dental tape have been used as a means of physically removing materia alba, dental plaque, and calculus from between the interproximal spaces of the teeth. Dental floss is prepared from nylon or other suitable threads woven together to form a larger, circular thread or a tape that may or may not be coated with an insoluble wax (such as paraffin). The need for such articles is obvious since the inaccessible areas between the teeth are not reached at all by toothbrushing. Unless food particles and their end products are removed from the interproximal areas they will promote the formation of dental caries in those areas. Caries at the interproximal surfaces of the teeth are not only more difficult to restore, but are the most damaging to the tooth.

Impregnated dental floss or dental tape heretofore known to the art have not been entirely satisfactory in cleaning the interproximal surfaces of the teeth. For example, Fleming, U.S. Pat. No. 3,491,776 disclosesan impregnated paper tape having a thin coating of wax and a coating of abrasive particles imbedded in the wax. I-Ieretofore, waxes used in dental floss or dental tapes of the Fleming type, have been water insoluble waxes such as paraffin. Such waxes reduce the cleaning quality of the impregnated dental floss or tape since the insoluble wax coats the abrasive particles thereby reducing the cleaning qualities of the material. In addition, the insoluble wax tends to coat the interproximal surfaces of the teeth, thus further hampering the abrasive action of the abrasive particles. Therefore, in the prior art, utilization of a water insoluble wax on a dental floss or tape has limited the effectiveness of the floss or tape in cleaning and polishing .the interproximal surfaces of the teeth. Prior to this invention, no methods were available to remove exogenous stains or to polish the interproximal surfaces.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the subject invention, a novel impregnated dental floss and tape having substantially improved cleaning and polishing characteristics has been discovered. Specifically, the improved dental floss or tape comprises fibrous material woven together to form.

the dental structure. It is not necessary that the abrasive material be securely adhered to the fibrous material to perform the cleaning and polishing function since the finely defined woven fibers tend to grip the abrasive material and move the abrasive material across the dental surfaces as the floss or tape is moved back and forth. In addition, the saliva soluble coating material does not adhere to the surface of the teeth and consequently. the dental abrasive material is permitted to come in direct contact with the enamel surface of the teeth.

Thus,.it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved impregnated dental floss or tape which provides substantially increased cleaning and polishing properties.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved impregnated dental floss or tape wherein asaliva soluble coating material dissolves during use to permit direct contact of the abrasive material with the dental structure.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved impregnated dental floss or tape.

which eliminates adherance of the coating material on the dental surface.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of a section of the impregnated dental floss of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a section of the impregnated dental tape embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is atop view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a view of theimpregnated dental floss embodiment of the presentinvention positioned in the interproximal space between two teeth.

FIG. 5. is a simplified schematic diagram of the process for manufacturing the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprising an impregnated dental floss 10 formed of a plurality of individual threads 12 of a material suitable. for a dental floss (such as cotton, wool, nylon, rayon, Dacron and acetate polymers) woven together to form a single strand 14 of dental floss. Particles of a dental abrasive 18 are held on the strand 14 by a coating of saliva soluble coating material 16 (shown in broken lines in FIG. 1).

FIG. 2 illustrates another preferred embodiment of the present invention comprising a dental tape 20 formed of a relatively flat strip of fibrous threads 22 woven together to form the dental tape 20. Particles of dental abrasive 26 are held on the surface of the dental tape 20 by a saliva soluble coating material 24 (shown in broken lines in FIG. 2).

FIG. 4 illustrates a strand of the impregnated dental floss 10 of the present invention inserted intothe interproximal space between two teeth 30. The operation of the saliva within the oral cavity dissolves the soluble coating material thus exposing the dental abrasive particles 18 and permitting direct contact between the particles and the interproximal surfaces 32 of the teeth 30 as the floss 10 is moved back and forth; Thus, it is apparent, that the dental abrasive particles 18 of the present invention come into direct contact with the dental structure during use.

In general, the dental abrasive saliva-soluble coating composition that is applied to the floss or tape comprises a minor proportion of abrasive and a major proportion of coating material. More particularly, compositions comprising wax and abrasive having relative weight ratios lying in the range of about 1: l to 4:1 (i.e., compositions comprising about 20-50 percent abrasive and about 50-80 percent wax by weight) are especially satisfactory.

The thickness of the abrasive impregnated coating material on the dental floss or tape is not critical and is a matter of choice, but it should be thick enough to provide a coating of abrasive particles on the floss or tape substrate.

FIG. 5 illustrates a simplified diagram of an apparatus for producing an improved impregnated dental floss and tape in accordance with the method aspects of the present invention. A roll 40 of raw or unimpregnated dental floss or tape 41 is threaded over a roller 42 into a vat 44 containing a mixture of saliva soluble coating material and dental abrasive particles 46. A heat source 48 is provided under vat 44 to supply heat to the mixture 46 and keep the saliva soluble coating material in a liquid condition. Advantageously, the

vat 44 is also provided with an agitator 49 which serves to maintain the coating composition as a generally homogeneous mixture. The floss or tape 41 is threaded around rollers 50 and 52 so that it exits vertically out of vat 44. Thus, a portion of the mixture 46 of saliva soluble coating material and dental abrasive particles adhers to the floss or tape 41 as it leaves the vat 44. The excess mixture 46 of saliva soluble coating material and dental abrasive particles is scraped off by scraper 54 which allows the excess mixture 46 to return to the vat The floss or tape 41 is then threaded around a roller 56 and passed between cooling coils 58.which cool the mixture 46 of saliva soluble coating material and dental abrasive particles thereby solidifying the mixture 46 on the floss or tape 41. The finished impregnated dental floss or tape is then rolled upon a collection roller 60.

The fibrous material utilized for the threads-12 (see FIG. 1) or 22 (see FIG. 2) may be made up of a number of fibrous materials having the proper strength and thread size for utilization as a dental floss or tape. For example, such materials as cotton, wool, nylon, rayon,

- Dacron, and acetate polymers have all been found to be suitable fibrous material for fabrication of a dental floss or dental tape.

Various water soluble coating materials have been found to be suitable for utilization as the coating material for the present invention. For example, polyethylene glycol, polyethylene oxides, polypropylene oxide, methylcellulose and mixtures thereof may be utilized as the water soluble coating material for the present invention. However, polyethylene glycol has been found to be particularly suitable for utilization in the present invention.

Various dental abrasive materials may be utilized in the present invention. Preferred dental abrasive materimetaphosphate (NaPO Lr,

calcium carbonate (CaCO alumina (A1 0 tin dioxide (SnO talc [Mg Si40 (Ol-I and mixtures thereof. However, zirconium silicate, particularly the ZrSiO, agent of U.S. Pat. No. 3,330,732 has been found to be especially suitable for the present invention.

of the teeth existing with the prior art impregnated artials include zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4) calcium 6 cles is avoided. Consequently, the present invention provides substantially improved cleaning and polishing properties over and above the prior art impregnated articles.

We claim:

1. An impregnated article for cleaning and polishing the teeth comprising an elongated member adapted for application to the teeth, with the member being coated with a composition comprising a water-soluble material and a dental abrasive material, with the water-soluble material being capable of being dissolved by the saliva in the oral cavity when the member is applied to the teeth thereby releasing the dental abrasive material to contact with the tooth surfaces as the member is applied thereto.

2. An article, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the elongated member comprises a woven fibrous material having a dimension sufficiently narrow to permit insertion thereof in the interproximal areas between adjacent teeth.

3. An article, as claimed in claim 2, wherein the woven fibrous material is nylon.

4. An article, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the water-soluble coating material is a member selected from the group consisting of polyethylene glycol, polyethylene oxide, polypropylene oxide, methylcellulose, and mixtures thereof.

5. An article, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the water-soluble coating material comprises polyethylene glycol.

6. An article, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the dental abrasive material comprises zirconium silicate, ZI'S104.

7. An article, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the coating composition comprises about 20-50 percent dental abrasive material and about 58-80 percent water-soluble material, by weight of the coating composition.

8. An article, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the elongated member is a strip of dental floss.

9. An article, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the elongated member is a strip of dental tape.

10. An impregnated dental floss for cleaning and polishing the interproximal surfaces of the teeth comprising:

fibrous material woven together to form a larger thread of a sufficiently small diameter to permit insertion between the teeth;

floss is inserted between the teeth thereby directly exposing said dental abrasive material to contact with the dental surface enhancing the cleaning and polishing properties of said impregnated dental floss.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification132/321
International ClassificationA61C15/00, A61C15/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61C15/041
European ClassificationA61C15/04B