US 3720975 A
A toothbrush adapted for finger manipulation and especially adapted for use at the cervical areas of teeth. A finger-manipulation member has thereon an array of bristles arranged in a formation along an axis extending forwardly from the member, the bristles being of progressively increasing lengths in a direction rearwardly from the front or leading end of the array, the foremost bristles being proportioned for initial entry within the space at the cervical portions of two adjacent teeth, thereby to provide an opening wedge for entry of the longer bristles therebehind. The finger member is positioned at the rear end of the array of bristles, so that the direct push of an operatively positioned finger will be in the direction of the axis toward the plane of the teeth to be brushed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
 Filed: Feb. 12, 1971  App]. No.: 114,996
 US. Cl ..15/167 R, 15/106, 15/206  Int. Cl. ..A46b 3/00  Field of Search ..15/106, 167 R, 159, 206; 132/89, 93
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,319,841 5/1943 Bate ..l5/206 2,164,219 6/1939 'McGerry... ..15/159A 3,421,171 l/1969 Tsuruzawa ..15/172 3,204,275 9/1965 Baker ..15/167 R 1,806,520 5/1931 Cave ..15/206 2,206,542 7/1940 Arnold ..15/106 1,894,413 1/1933 Nenning et al ..l5/167 R 2,167,129 7/1939 Sleeper ..15/227-X 1,465,522 8/1923 Lunday 132/93 1,996,205 4/1935 Jackson ..132/89 United States Patent 1 1 3,720,975 Nelson 5]March 20, 1973 TOOTHBRUSHES FCREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS  Inventor: Stanley E. Nelson, 200 Central Park, 24,259 1/1898 Great Britain 15/206 South, New York, NY. 10019 679,174 7/1939 Germany ..l5/206 Primary Examiner-Leon G. Machlin Attorney-Emanuel R. Posnack [5 7] ABSTRACT A toothbrush adapted for finger manipulation and especially adapted for use at the cervical areas of teeth. A finger-manipulation member has thereon an array of bristles arrangedin a formation along an axis extending forwardly from the member, the bristles being of progressively increasing lengths in a direction rearwardly from the front or leading end of the array, the foremost bristles being proportioned for initial entry within the space at the cervical portions of two adjacent teeth, thereby to provide an opening wedge for entry of the longer bristles therebehind. The finger member is positioned at the rear end of the array of bristles, so that the direct push of an operatively positioned finger will be in the direction of the axis toward the plane of the teeth to be brushed.
1 Claim, 9 Drawing lFigures TOOTHBRUSHES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. The Field of the Invention I This invention relates to toothbrushes, and is particularly directed to toothbrushes adapted for mounting upon or manipulable by a finger and especially for use at the cervical areas of teeth.
2. The Known Art There are various forms of finger-supported toothbrushes the respective values of which reside mainly in their compactness, disposability and manipulability. While certain of such known devices can be made accessible to teeth not conveniently reachable by the conventional handle type of brush, they have the disadvantage of ineffectiveness at the interproximal, crevicular cervical areas as well as at the front and rear gingival marginal portions of the teeth. The clusters of bristles in such known devices, as well as in other conventional toothbrushes, are not arranged so that they can progressively enter and penetrate the spaces between the teeth, especially at gingival regions, the bunching together of the bristles and their buckling and folding against the front surfaces of the teeth under finger pressure causing a clogging of the entrance to such spaces. The continued application of direct finger pressure, such as occurs with finger-mounted toothbrushes, often results in an abrasion of the'gums in addition to leaving untouched the accumulated plaque at the cervical portions of the teeth and particularly at their critical marginal interfaces. The plaque, starting as a thin film, thus builds up in thickness, resulting in destructive caries, marginal periodontic disease and gingivitis, despite repeated brushing. To prevent further deterioration of such conditions, it is generally necessary to resort to expensive and at times painful periodontal work, often followed by prolonged auxiliary procedures. Moreover, it is an accepted fact that after such periodontal treatment the plaque buildup process begins again, with resultant adverse effects. The need is daily preventive procedure, and that, for the reasons given above, cannot be provided by the known devices; and the only alternative, resorting to daily professional periodontal procedures, is obviously out of the question.
OBJECT OF THIS INVENTION It is the objective of my invention to provide a toothbrush having none of the above-mentioned shortcomings of known devices of this category, and which is capable of effectively removing plaque and other accumulations at the sites of their accumulations, particularly at the interproximal, front and rear gingival marginal areas of the teeth at their entire cervical circumferences and beneath the gums by simple finger manipulations, thereby obviating the resort to professional procedures for treating the above-referred-to periodontal conditions. It is a further object of this invention to accomplish the aforesaid objective by means of a novel finger-manipulated brush whereby the manipulating finger tip is in position for close tactical control of the bristles, and wherein said bristles are arranged and proportioned for gradual and progressive entry into and movement within, and lingually beyond, the cervical space between two adjacent teeth, whereby said bristles are effectively engageable with front, interproximal and rear marginal areas to remove plaque formations, and to effect a light massaging of the marginal gum portions. And a further object is to provide a simple, inexpensive and easily applied dental brush device capable .of performing the functions above mentioned.
Other objects, features and advantages will appear from the drawings and the description hereafter given.
SUMMARY OF THE iNv NTio The essential feature of the invention resides in an array of flexible and preferably resilient bristles mounted upon a fingenmanipulable member, the bristles being arranged in a formation extending forwardly of said member and being of progressively increasing lengths in the direction rearwardly from the front or leading end of the array, the foremost bristles being proportioned for initial entry within a predetermined space representing the space between the cervical marginal portions of two adjacent teeth. The arrangement is such that, upon direct finger pressure at the rear of the array, towards the plane of the teeth, the relatively short leading bristles will enter said space, displacing the gum a slight amount, and thereby providing an opening wedge for entry into said space of the progresmanipulable member is shaped for frictional mounting upon the tip of a finger, the said array of bristlesbeing of conical configuration with the apical portion thereof comprising the said leading end, said finger member being positioned at the base portion of the cluster,
whereby the operative pushing action of the finger will be in the axial direction of the conical array and substantially normal to the plane of the teeth to be brushed.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 7 FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a toothbrush showing one embodiment of my invention.
FIG. 2 is a top view thereof.
FIG. 3 is a sectional plan view of two adjacent teeth and showing the device of FIG. 1 operatively mounted on a finger and in a position in front of the teeth just prior to the operative entry of the bristles in the space at the cervical region of the teeth.
FIG. 4 is a section of FIG. 3 taken substantially along line 4-4. I i
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary top view of the device of FIG. 3 rotated into the vertical plane, the finger being removed, showing; an operatively advanced position of the device in engagement with opposite cervical portions of the two teeth.
FIG. 6 is a view substantially like FIG. 5 but showing a further advanced position, with the front portion of the array of bristles positioned behindthe teeth.
FIG. 7 is a front view of a modified form of my invention.
FIG. 8 is a front view of another modified form of this invention showing two operatively mounted arrays of bristles.
FIG. 9 is still another modified form of this invention also with two oppositely positioned arrays of bristles.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The embodiment of my invention shown in FIGS. 1 to 6 comprises a finger-manipulable member 10 in the form of a ring adapted to be mounted upon a finger, and a longitudinal array of bristles 11 extending forwardly from said member 10. In the particular embodiment illustrated the member 10 has a forwardly extending boss 12 from which extends the bristle-supporting stem 13. The individual bristles 14 are made of thin flexible, resilient material, and are arranged in a formation along said stem of progressively increasing lengths in the direction rearwardly from the leading end 15 of said array, the foremost bristles 14a being shortest and being proportioned for initial entry within the space between the cervical portions of two adjacent teeth, as will more clearly appear from the description hereinafter given. The configuration of the illustrated preferred bristle array 11 is substantially conical, the apical portion being in the region of the said leading end 15 thereof, the base at the rearmost bristles 14b, and said stem 13 along the axis, the individual bristles extending substantially radially from the stem but being slightly forwardly inclined, for reasons which will be explained below.
FIGS. 3 to 6, inclusive, illustrate the operative use of this device. The areas to be cleaned are the cervical portions 16 and 17 on adjacent teeth, in the region of the gum line 18. The device, with the member 10 mounted on the finger 21 as shown in FIG. 3, is first positioned with the foremost bristles 14a in front of the cervical space 22 adjacent the gum line 18 between the two teeth 19 and 20, the finger then applying a direct push against the portion 100' thereof, at times hereinafter referred to as the push portion directly behind said array, towards and in the direction A substantially normal to the front plane of said teeth. Since the tip of the finger engaging the said push portion 10a is directly behind the array of bristles 11, the leading bristles 14a can be operatively positioned precisely at the right spot, and the cleansing manipulations, described below, accurately controlled.
Upon the continued forward push of the device under the controlled action of the finger 21, the short leading bristles 14a and those immediately behind will first engage the front laterally opposite cervical portions of the teeth and then, upon entering the space 22, will engage the opposite interproximal cervical portions 16 and 17 of the teeth 19 and 20, respectively. Since the said space is relatively narrow, the laterally opposite leading bristles will, upon engagement with the said cervical portions 16 and 17, be bent back and partly flattened toward the stem 13 as shown in FIG. 5; but inasmuch as the bristles are resilient, they will yieldably press against said cervical portions 16 and 17 as the device is being operatively moved forwardly. More specifically, first the leading bristles 14a impinge upon the teeth, effecting the initial abrasive action of breaking up of the plaque thereon, this action continuing as the bristles are being bent back and while they are in their fully bent-back positions. The resulting bristion of the gum 18 above said space 22, causing a slight retraction thereof, as indicated in FIG. 4 by the upwardly curved marginal gum portion 18a, thereby slightly enlarging the said space 22. The said short leading bristles thus in effect prepare a path for the entry of the rearwardly disposed longer bristles.
The continued forward movement of the device causes the progressively longer bristles to enter the space 22 and be bent back in the manner above described. With the increasing length of the bristles the force of the abrasive action is progressively increased, since longer bristles confined in the same space as the shorter bristles will exert correspondingly greater pressure against the teeth. Thus there is the desirable action of a progressively increasing abrasive action and a consequent gradual eroding of the plaque film.
When, upon the continued forward movement of the device, the foremost bristles emerge behind the teeth, as shown in FIG. 6, they will spring back into'their normal positions, due to their resiliency. A to and fro movement, as well as a circular movement, will then cause a plaque-abrading action of the bristles at the lingual cervical portions 23 and 24, as well as at the interproximal and front cervical portions of the teeth.
I have found that the daily use of my invention as above described effectively removes plaque accumulations at the cervical areas, and serves as an efficient dental disease preventive at the circumferential portions of cervical areas.
The bristles in the form of my invention illustrated in.
FIGS. 1 and 6 are shown as being forwardly inclined with respect to the stem 13. With this construction the tips 14c of the bristles impinge directly upon the front cervical portions 25 and 26 as the device is being moved forwardly towards the plane of the teeth, said tips then sliding outwardly against the teeth as the bristle array 11 moves into and through the space 22, thereby effectively initiating the plaque-eroding action of each bristle.
Theform of my invention shown in FIG. 7 has a finger-manipulable member 27 of an openloop configuration, thereby enabling the finger to be readily slipped into and out of position through the opening 28. The array of bristles 29 is substantially like that of the form above described, except that the bristles 30 are not inclined with respect to the stem, but normal with respect thereto. The operative use of this form of my invention is substantially like that of the first form described.
FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of my invention having a U-shaped finger manipulable member 31 with two opposite bristle-supporting arms 32 and 33 supporting the respective bristle arrays 34 and 35, the bristle arrangement on each array being substantially like that of the form first above described. The value of this arrangement is that it can conveniently be used with either hand, one bristle array being operable by a finger of one hand and the other array by a finger of the other hand, whichever is more convenient to the user.
FIG. 9 illustrates another double bristle array construction, the finger manipulable member being a bar 36 supporting at opposite ends 37 and 38 the respective bristle arrays 39 and 40. The manipulating fingers are applied to one or the other of said end portions 37 and 38, thereby to exert controlled direct operative pressures on the respective bristle arrays substantially in the manner above described. In this embodiment the bris tles of the two arrays are illustrated as of different qualities and physical properties, the bristle array 39 being shown as composed of bristles of greater thickness, and hence stiffer, than the bristles of array 40. The bristles of one array may be operatively employed before the other, as required by prevailing conditions, to produce an effective progressive plaque eroding action or to produce a smoother finished surface; or, if deemed necessary, one of the bristle arrays may be impregnated with a suitable mild abrasive, such as zirconium silicate, and the other left clean.
in accordance with my invention the bristles may be mounted in any known manner, such as fastened to a r stem or core, or made an integral part of a one-piece moulded device.
In the above description, the invention has been disclosed merely by way of example and in preferred manner; but obviously many variations and modificatherefore, that the invention is not limited to any particular form or manner of practicing same.
tions may be made therein. It is to be understood,
1. A toothbrush comprising a finger-manipulable member, an elongated stern having front and rear ends, the rear end of the stem being connected to said fingermanipulable member, said stem extending forwardly from said finger-manipulable member, and a longitudinal array of bristles secured to said stem and extend ing forwardly thereon and being at forwardly inclined angles with respect to said stem, said bristles extending radially from said stem in circumferential arrangement around said stem and being of progressively increasing lengths in a direction rearwardly from the leading end of said stem towards saidrmember, such that the array of bristles is of substantially conical configuration with said stem in axial position and with the apical portion thereof at said leading end, the foremost bristles of said array being proportioned for entry into a space of predetermined proportions representing the space between the cervical portions of two adjacent teeth, said bristles being of flexible, resilient material to flex with respect to said stem when operatively disposed within the space between the cervical portions of two adjacent teeth and engaged by the interproximal areas of the adjacent teeth and to return to their respective normal unflexed positions when operatively disposed behind said teeth, said member including a finger-engageable push portion in proximity with and entirely behind said bristles to enable a finger in operative engagement with said member at said push'portion to apply forward pressure on said stem and said array of bristles in the longitudinal direction thereof.