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Publication numberUS3755848 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 4, 1973
Filing dateMar 8, 1971
Priority dateMar 8, 1971
Publication numberUS 3755848 A, US 3755848A, US-A-3755848, US3755848 A, US3755848A
InventorsC Mutrie
Original AssigneeC Mutrie
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toothbrush for arthritics
US 3755848 A
Abstract
A toothbrush for arthritics has an extended hollow body forming a handle for a removable brush which extends axially from the body when the brush is to be used and which is inverted and inserted into the hollow body for storage when not in use. The cross section of the body portion is sufficiently large to prevent contact between the fingers and the palm when the fingers are wrapped around the body portion in gripping relation, so that curling of the fingers is minimized in grasping the brush.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

nitnl States 18 ntrie 1 Sept.4,1973

[ TOUTHBRUSH FOR ARTllilRlTlCS [76] Inventor: Charles B. Mutrie, 268 Grove St.,

Apt. 1, Auburnadale, Mass. 02166 [22] Filed: Mar. 8, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 121,830

Primary Examiner-Leon G. Machlin Attorney-Cesari & McKenna [57] ABSTRACT A toothbrush for arthritics has an extended hollow body forming a handle for a removable brush which extends axially from the body when the brush is to be used and which is inverted and inserted into the hollow body for storage when not in use. The cross section of the body portion is sufficiently large to prevent contact between the fingers and the palm when the fingers are wrapped around the body portion in gripping relation, so that curling of the fingers is minimized in grasping the brush.

4 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Patented Sept. 4, 1973 INVENTOR CHARLES B. MUTRI E BY Qdawimzd 777%21010;

FIG.4

V ATTORNEYS roornsrwsu FOR ARTHRITICS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A. Field of the Invention The invention relates to a toothbrush, and comprises a toothbrush for arthritics.

B. Prior Art Toothbrushes conventionally are in the form of elongated, relatively slender beams of small cross-section (of the order of 0.05 square inches) with a brush at one end thereof. In grasping toothbrushes of this type, it is necessary to close the fingers completely around them such that the tips of the fingers contact the palm of the hand or otherwise tightly curl around, or close on, the handle. For those affected with a disability such as arthritis, which causes discomfort and sometimes severe pain when the fingers of the hand are moved into a closed position, such brushes are used only with great discomfort.

Toothbrushes of somewhat enlarged cross-section for storing the tip of the brush in the handle have also been proposed. However, these again do not have a crosssection sufficiently large to allow convenient grasping by arthritics. Further, they are frequently difficult to assemble and disassemble, especially for arthritics or persons with similar disabilities.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A. Objects of the Invention Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved toothbrush.

Further, it is an object of the invention to provide a toothbrush for arthritics.

Another object of the invention is to provide a toothbrush having detachable head and body portions which are easily separated or assembled by arthritics or children.

A further object of the invention is to provide a toothbrush in which the head is readily stored for travel or other purposes.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a toothbrush which is economical to manufacture.

B. Brief Description of the Invention The toothbrush of the present invention comprises an elongated shell forming a body or handle, and a brush attached to a beam for connection to the shell. The shell has an expanded cross section (preferably circular, and having a minimum diameter of 0.8 inches to provide a minimum cross sectional area of approximately 0.5 square inch) so that the user may readily grasp it in his hand without having to curl his fingers tightly around it. This relieves the pain normally encountered by arthritics in grasping a toothbrush and is also advantageous for children, whose finger dexterity is often limited. In normal usage, the beam on which the brush head is mounted extends axially from the shell or body. However, when the brush head is to be stored, its orientation is reversed and it is placed fully within the body for storage. This is readily accomplished by attaching the beam to one face of a base having opposing faces which can be orientated inwardly or outwardly for storage or use, as the case may be. It may also be accomplished by providing a bifurcated body, hinged or pivoted at one end, which opens to expose a beam and brush head which are pivoted on the interior of the body and which swing out of the body for use or into the body for storage.

A skirt surrounding the body is also preferably provided at the forward end of the body at which the brush head is attached to the body. This skirt serves to prevent seepage of fluids onto the body from the brush head. In cases where the brush head is joined to the body by means of a removable base, the skirt may advantageously be attached to the base itself. In this case, the skirt then serves the additional function of providing a convenient bearing surface against which pressure may easily be exerted to unseat the base from the body to thereby reverse the brushing head for storage or use as required.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The foregoing and other and further objects and features of the invention will more readily be understood on reference to the following detailed description of the drawings in which FIG. 1 is a vertical cross section of one embodiment in the invention showing the brush head fully extended from the body;

FIG. 2 is a vertical cross section of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing the brush head in the inverted position for storage within the body;

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2 showing the exterior of the body with the brush head positioned inside for storage;

FIG. 4 is a sketch in perspective illustrating the ease with which the body of the toothbrush can be grasped without tightly clenching the finger of the hand;

FIG. 5 is a vertical cross sectional view of another embodiment of the invention illustrating an alternate method of attaching the brush head to the body of the toothbrush;

FIG. 6 is a view in perspective, with portions broken away, of still another embodiment of the invention with the brush head positioned inside the partially opened body for storage; and

FIG. 7 is a partial view in perspective of the toothbrush of FIG. 6 showing the brush head fully extended for use.

Returning to FIG. 1, a body 10 in the shape of an elongated shell having a hollow core carries on it a base 12 having indented grooves 14 and 16 for mating with a corresponding ridge 18 in order to secure the base firmly in the body. A skirt 20 having a shoulder 22 for abutting against the forward face 10a of the body 10 is mounted on the base 12. The skirt extends outwardly from the base 12 to form a trough. 24 which is oriented to prevent the flow of fluids from the top portion of the base to the body 10.

The upper portion of the base 122 has a shaped recess 26 and a projecting lip 28. Recess 26 is shaped to receive a brush head 30 in the form of a beam 32 having a brush 34 mounted on one extremity of it. At the lower extremity of the beam 32 is a clamp 36 having an upper portion 360 extending above the upper face 12a of the base 12, a middle portion 36b having a crook in it to fit under the projecting lip 28, and a lower portion 360 joining the shaft 32 at the bottom thereof. The clamp 36 is constructed of a spring-like material and is so positioned in relation to the beam 32 and the projecting lip 28 that the central portion 36b of the clamp may be urged toward the beam 32 by pressing the upper portion 36a against this beam. When this is done, the middle portion 36b is brought out from under the lip 28 so that the brush head 30 may be removed from the base 12 by pulling the brush in a vertical direction.

Conversely, the brush head 30 may be inserted into the base I2 merely by pressing the lower portion of the brush head into the groove 26. The lower face of the middle portion 36b then contacts the lip 28 on the upper surface of the lip. Because the portion 36b is curved on its lower face, this face rides over the lip 28 at the same time that the clamp 36 moves inwardly toward the beam 32. When the brush head 30 is lowered a sufficient distance into the recess 26, the portion 36b extends outwardly, by virtue of its springiness, to a position under the lip 28 to securely lock it in place.

As noted previously, the grooves I4 and 16 arev adapted to mate with the ridge 18 when properly positioned with respect to this ridge. In FIG. I, with the brush head 30 in the extended position for use, the groove 16 mates with the ridge 18 to firmly lock the base I2 onto the body 10. In this position, the outer faces of shoulders 22 rest against the upper face 10a of body 10. The shoulders thus serve to prevent the base 12 from being pushed further into the body 10 than necessary to align the groove 16 and ridge 18. Without this shoulder, or a comparable stop obtained by a projecting item such as the skirt 20, one such as a child could possibly wedge the base 12 into the body 10 so securely that it could not again be retrieved without the possibility of breaking the body or the base.

The base 12 is easily removed from the body 10 by grasping the body It) with both hands and simultaneously providing upward pressure on the skirt with the thumbs. Thus, in addition to preventing the running of fluids from the brush head 38 onto the body 10, as well as providing a stop to inward movement of the base 12, the skirt 20 provides an effective bearing surface against which force may be exerted without undue inconvenience by persons such as arthritics, whose finger mobility is limited, or children.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the toothbrush of FIG. 1 is shown with the base 12 inverted for storing the brush head 30 within the body 110. The grooves 14 on the upper or forward end of the base 12 are now engaged with the ridge I8 to lock the base into the body with the brush head 30 in the interior. The inner face of the shoulder 22 now presses against the upper face 10a of body 10 and, as was previously the case, limits the inward movement of the base 12. Since the skirt 20 no longer need prevent the dripping of fluid onto the body 10, it now faces downwardly, along with the brush head 30. Again, it serves as a bearing surface for removing the base 112 from the body I and, as before, the removal is easily accomplished by grasping the body with both hands and exerting upward force on the skirt with the thumbs.

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the toothbrush of FIGS. 1 and 2 when the brush head is stored within the body as in FIG. 2. The rather compact nature of the toothbrush, despite its large size, will be apparent from this illustration. The appearance of the toothbrush may be further enhanced by suitable embossing. Since this is a matter of choice, however, it has not been illustrated here.

The toothbrush of the present invention may be made from any of a number of suitable materials, but will most advantageously be formed from a plastic, since such a material is readily molded to the desired shape and inherently possesses the required resistance to deformation, erosion by fluids, etc. which are necessary in a toothbrush. The body I0 may advantageously be made from a hard plastic material, while the base I2 may be made from either a hard or a semi-hard plastic. The brush head 30 must, of course, be made from a plastic having a relatively high modulus of elasticity so that it retains appropriate stiffness during the brushing operation. The clamp 36 may be integrally formed with the beam 32 and from the same material if adequate springiness may be obtained to allow its insertion and removal in the recess 26; alternatively, it may be formed from a different material, such as spring steel, and attached to the beam 32. However, for reasons of economy in manufacture, it is preferred that the clamp 36 and beam 32 be formed integral with each other.

FIG. 4 illustrates the ease with which the toothbrush of the present invention is grasped without fully extending the fingers around it. In the case of arthritics, it can be extremely painful to fully extend the fingers around an object held in the hand so that the tips of the fingers close on the palm of the hand, as is required with con ventional toothbrushes. With the toothbrush of the present invention, however, the fingers need not fully close around the brush in this manner because of the extended cross section of the brush. In order to provide a body of comfortable cross section and adequate capacity to store the brush head, the cross section of the brush should be a minimum of 0.8 inches in diameter and preferably is of the order of 1 inch or more in diameter, thereby providing a minimum cross-section of at least 0.5 square inch.

In addition to being inserted into the body It) by means of a force fit, such as is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the base 12 may also be screwed into the body 10 as is illustrated in FIG. 5. As there shown, a base 40 carrying the usual brush head 42 has upper and lower external threads 44 and 46 respectively which mate with internal threads 48 on a body 50. As was previously the case, a Skin 52 is integrally formed with the body 40. The skirt may be fluted to enable the user to grasp it more readily and turn it to screw and unscrew the base 40.

Referring now to FIG. 6, another alternative embodiment of the toothbrush of the present invention is described. As shown in FIG. 6, the body 60 is formed in two segments 60a and 60b joined together by a pivot or hinge 62. Projections 64 on the walls of one or more segments 60a and 60b mate with corresponding lips 66 to lock the two segments firmly together. The usual skirt 68 is provided at the forward end of the body 60. As was previously the case, this skirt forms a trough which prevents the flow of fluids from the brush head to the body 60. In addition, it also provides a convenient means of pulling apart the sections 60a and 60b which is simply accomplished by inserting the fingers into the trough on opposite sides of the body and pulling the two sections apart.

A brush head 70 is carried on a pivot '72 in the forward portion of the body 60. For storage, the brush is carried fully in the body as shown in FIG. 6, but with the body segments closed. When, however, the brush is to be used, the body segments 60a and 6012 are pulled apart from each other to expose the brush 70, the brush is swung out from the body segment 60b around the pivot 72, and the two body segments are then rejoined to each other to hold the brush securely in place.

As will be seen more clearly in FIG. 7, the forward portion of the body 60 has a cutaway portion 74 through which the brush head 70 extends. The section 74 need be merely of sufficient width to extend the brush head 70 through it so that the walls of the body 60 firmly clamp around the brush head when the body is again closed.

From the foregoing it will be seen that I have pro vided a useful and improved toothbrush for use by per sons such as arthritics and the like. The brush has a body of extended cross sections so that it can be grasped in the hand without the tips of the fingers touching the palm of the hand as required by conventional toothbrushes. The tips of the fingers may or may not touch the heel of the hand, dependent on the size of the body in relation to the size of the users hand. Because the fingers need not curl tightly enough to curl into the palm of the hand, persons with disabilities in the fingers such as arthritics, can use the brush without undergoing the pain caused by tightly closing the fingers. Further, children will also find this toothbrush advantageous, since their finger dexterity is limited, especially at early ages.

In addition to possessing an extended cross section, the brush is readily disassembled and stored in an attractive case formed from the body itself. This is especially advantageous for persons confined to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. where the toothbrushes are stored with the personal effects of the patient and away from the toilet facilities. A drip-protecting skirt keeps the body of the brush dry while also serving as a convenient means of extending and withdrawing the brush head with relatively little effort. The brush head itself is readily removed for replacement when worn.

Persons other than arthritics and children will also benefit from the toothbrush described herein since its extended cross section provides a firm grasp for the user and promotes brisker brushing of the teeth and gums with consequent benefits in improved gum stimulation. Because a firm grasp on the handle is obtained without tightly clenching the fist, blood circulation in the fingers is also improved as compared to conventional brushes.

The extended cross section also allows the brush to be stored in a free-standing position, resting on its base. To improve its stability in this position, the base of the handle may be provided with a skirt similar to that provided at the brush end of the handle but here serving to stabilize against tipping or rocking.

it will be understood that various changes may be made in the invention described and illustrated herein without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the foregoing material be taken as illustrative only, the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.

Having described my invention, I claim 1. A toothbrush for arthritics, comprising:

A. an elongated generally cylindrical shell forming a body I. having a hollow core adapted to carry a brush therein;

5 2. having a cross-section of such a size that the fingers of a user, when wrapped around the shell, are prevented from contacting the palm;

B. a brush support 1. in the form ofa beam and having a brush extending from one end thereof;

2. positionable on said shell i. in a first position with the brush extending out wardly from, and axially aligned with, said shell for brushing, and ii. in a second position with the brush extending inwardly of, and enclosed by, the shell for storage and C. a skirt attached to said shell. and extending outwardly therefrom to form a cup for receiving liquid drainage from said brush when said brush is extended outwardly of said shell and above the horizontal. 2. A toothbrush for arthritics, comprising: A. an elongated shell forming a body having a hollow core adapted to carry a brush therein; B. a base having first and second opposed faces, said base being snugly positionable in said shell in either of two opposed orientations; C. a brush support 1. in the form of a beam having a brush extending from one end thereof, and

2. attachable to a first face of said base for storage in said shell when said base is positioned therein in a first orientation and for extension from said shell for brushing when said base is positioned therein in an opposed orientation; and

D. a skirt attached to said base and extending outwardly of said shell when the base is positioned in the shell, said skirt forming a guard for impeding liquid drainage from the brush along the shell when the brush and shell are oriented above the horizontal direction with the brush outside the shell.

3. A toothbrush according to claim 1 in which said shell has first and second mating portions defined by parting lines extending in the axial direction transverse to its cross-section and pivotally connected to each other, said beam being pivotally connected to one of said sections for positioning within said shell for storage or for positioning outside said shell and axially aligned therewith for brushing.

4. A toothbrush according to claim 2 in which said base is positioned in said shell by means of a pressure fitting, said skirt providing a force-applying surface extending transversely to the shell to assist in removing the base from the shell.

t III =i= =i= k

Patent Citations
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US860527 *Dec 21, 1905Jul 16, 1907James Anson CochraneTooth-brush.
US1194735 *May 5, 1916Aug 15, 1916 Shaving-brush
US1332156 *Sep 19, 1918Feb 24, 1920Bachman Fayrtte HSanitary brush
US2112658 *Apr 3, 1936Mar 29, 1938Rathbun Merrill LClosed receptacle or case
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3895877 *Mar 5, 1973Jul 22, 1975Kenneth A FombyApplicator brush and method of making same
US4558483 *Jan 23, 1984Dec 17, 1985Noser Anne MDental brushing aid
US4583563 *Aug 12, 1983Apr 22, 1986Turner Burton SCombined toothbrush and toothpaste dispenser
US4711354 *Dec 9, 1986Dec 8, 1987Kjs Industries, Inc.Article dispenser for lipstick or the like
US4884688 *Apr 11, 1988Dec 5, 1989Hurst Joseph STooth brush case
US5261430 *Mar 2, 1992Nov 16, 1993Mochel David JSystem of oral hygiene and personal care apparatus with interchangeable and replaceable elements
US5617884 *Aug 17, 1994Apr 8, 1997Allison; Duane M.Dental hygiene system with detachable head toothbrush
US5842248 *May 21, 1997Dec 1, 1998Van Grol; Derrick K.Toothbrush with a catch basin and drain
US5887601 *Jan 26, 1998Mar 30, 1999King; James P.Toothbrush
US5970562 *May 7, 1998Oct 26, 1999Lalevee, Sr.; Russell R.No drip tooth brush and shield
US6546585Jul 6, 1999Apr 15, 2003The Procter & Gamble CompanyToothbrush with detachable/replaceable head
US7322367 *Apr 19, 2002Jan 29, 2008Paz-Soldan Luis JoseDevice for cleaning teeth
US20030163881 *Feb 10, 2003Sep 4, 2003Braun GmbhToothbrush head for an electric toothbrush
US20040154636 *Apr 19, 2002Aug 12, 2004Paz-Soldan Louis Jose?Apos;Method and device for cleaning teeth
US20060137117 *Feb 21, 2006Jun 29, 2006The Procter & Gamble CompanyToothbrushes with a replaceable head having a threaded connection
EP0051047A1 *Oct 16, 1981May 5, 1982Pio RussoA kit for cleaning the teeth with a toothbrush storable in the toothpaste holder
WO2001052695A1 *Jan 24, 2001Jul 26, 2001Kabam Products LlcPop-out toothbrush and enclosure therefore
Classifications
U.S. Classification15/184, 15/248.1, 132/311
International ClassificationA46B5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA46B5/0095, A46B5/025, A46B2200/1066
European ClassificationA46B5/02C, A46B5/00C