US 3810479 A
A toothbrush of normal configuration and structure has a relatively small well on the side of the brush having the bristles and in relative proximity thereto. The well contains an antimicrobial material which is sparingly soluble so that as the brush is wetted the moisture will dissolve a small portion of the antimicrobial agent which is then distributed over the bristles by capillary action thereby sterilizing them.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
t u ,w I at ttes e [1 1 [ll] 331,7
iles ay 14, 1974 TOOTIIBRUSH HAVING ANTIMICROBIAL 2,507,299 5/1950 DAlelio 424 52 MEANS  Inventor: Gilbert Dwayne Miles, Ossining, I P imary Examiner-G E. McNeill N.Y. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Herbert S. Sylvester,  Assignee: Colgate-Palmolive Company, New Esq; Murray M-tGnl 9iKsttflsflliltsh York, N.Y.
 Filed: 061. 17,
[211 App]. No.: 298,292
A toothbrush of normal configuration and structure has a relatively small well on the side of the brush hav-  US. Cl. 132/84 ing the bristles and in relative proximity thereta The  Hill. Cl A45d 44/18 n contains an antimicrobial material which is p  Field of Search 132/84, 92, 93; 401/132,
- ingly soluble so that as the brush is wetted the mois- 401/176; 424/52 turewill dissolve a small portion of the antimicrobial agent which is then distributed over the bristles by  I References C'ted capillary action thereby sterilizing them.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,432,245 3/1969 Hudson 401/132 I 5 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures TOOTHBRUSH HAVING ANTIMICROBIAL MEAN BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It will be appreciated that there is major concern with the presence of microbes on toothbrushes. Particular attention is warranted in those situations where a toothbrush is utilized by more than one person so that there can be a transfer of bacteria from one person to another. Nevertheless, even when toothbrushes are allocated for individual use the microbes which are always present within the human mouth will remain on the bristles and on the toothbrush proper even though it may be adequately rinsed and shaken to remove the excess moisture. Small food particles remaining on the bristles of the brush provide situs for microbial multiplication so that when it is used again a new more virulent infestation may occur in the mouth.
It is known that within 4-12 hours after birth, alphahemolytic streptococci (strep viridans) become established as the most prominent members of the normal resident flora of the mouth and remain so for life.
Early in life, aerobic and anaerobic-staphylococci, gram-negative diplococci (neisseriae), diphtheroids and occasional lactobacilli are added. When teeth begin to erupt, the anaerobic spirocheters and-fusiform bacilli and some anaerobic vibrios and lactobacilli establish themselves. Actinomyces species are normally present in tonsillar tissue and on the gingivae in adults. Additionally, yeasts may also occur in the mouth.
It will be appreciated that in view of the extensive flora found in the mouth positive action should be" taken to ensure that flora which has been conditioned to be harmless in one persons mouth is not transmitted to another person where some problems could occur.
The problem attendant toothbrushes not having means for establishing asepsis has been attacked from a number of positions. For instance, in one aspect the toothbrush after utilization is simply dipped into a receptacle containing an antimicrobial agent such as alcohol. In another embodiment, of fairly recent vintage, is the technique to expose the bristles of the toothbrush to a chamber having an ultraviolet producing lamp so that the toothbrush is continuously stored in an environment having ultraviolet radiation. In another embodiment the bristles of a brush have been fabricated of a synthetic material into which has been incorporated a germicidal material. An example of this can be found in'U. S. Pat. No. 3,294,099. In still another solution a toothbrush has been constructed having a reservoir in the back of the bristle portions. The reservoir is filled with an antimicrobial agent and is in communication with the bristles through suitable apertures between the bristle holders and the reservoir. This last arrangement would be under ordinary circumstances quite satisfactory, but for the expense involved has not become popular.
All of the above described prior art type arrangements have proven to be satisfactory to a considerable degree. In each case, however, the primary drawbacks would be in the totalization of the expense in producing a toothbrush or in the case utilized to house such a toothbrush.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention sets forth an ingenious arrangement which not only has the primary duty of solving quite inexpensively the problem of maintaining a toothbrush in a relative sterilized condition and at the same time the manner in wyich this is accomplished also results in an indication as to when a toothbrush should be replaced. The present concept of the invention is accomplished by employing a toothbrush which has a relatively shallow well or receptacle positioned in an area intermediate the bristle portions of the toothbrush and the handle portion. The well is also on the side where the bristles are located. The well is filled with a slug or pellet of an antimicrobial agent of a sufficient quantity and of a degree of solubility so that the moisture employed in washing and rinsing the toothbrush gradually leaches theantimicrobial agent in the pellet so that is is distributed over the toothbrush in that portion that has'become wet. By making the pellet of a contrasting color to the toothbrush handle the pellet acts as an indicator when all of the antimicrobial agent has been solubilized. At that juncture in time, the owner and user of the toothbrush becomes informed that all of the antimicrobial agent has been utilized and that is is now a good opportunity to purchase a new toothbrush.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION It will be readily apparent that not just any type of antimicrobial agent may be employed. A number of facets must be considered to make the antimicrobial agent ap- I plicable to carrying out the present invention. A first consideration, of course, is relative to the effectiveness as an antimicrobial agent for the bacteria normally found in the mouth. Secondly, the antimicrobial agent must not be too soluble in water so that it is dissolved from the well of the toothbrush in too rapid a manner. On the other hand, it must not be too insoluble for in such a situation the effectiveness of obtaining antimicrobial activity is not obtained.
If a binder is used in which the antimicrobial agent is incorporated, it too should have a degree of solubility so that additional antimicrobial material may be duly exposed. It is contemplated within the purview of the invention, however, that the antimicrobial agent be included as an impregnant in the interstices of an absorbent pad such as an interconnecting cellular structure produced from foamed polyurethane. However, such embodiment does not give the indicator as the cellular pad will remain after all of the antimicrobial agent has been leached therefrom. a
Antimicrobial agents of the phenolic type are applicable as they are effective at high 1-2 percent aqueous solutions) and low concentrations, but are generally objectionable in smell and taste. l-Iexachlorophene [2,2- methylenebis (3,4,6 trichlorophenol)] is an exception to this. It is not objectionable and is practically insoluble in water. It was first patented in US. Pat. No. 2,250,480.
Another applicable antimicrobial agent is acriflavine which is a bacteriost'atic mixture of 2,8-diamino-l0 methylacridinium chloride and of 2,8-d iaminoacridine,
Drug of 1st Drug of 2nd Microbe Normally In Mouth' Choice Choice l Strep viridans Penicillin Erythromycin 2) Anaerobic .rlreplacocans Tetracycline Penicillin G 3) Vibria comma Tetracycline Streptomycin Sulfonamidc 4) Actiromyces Penicillin G Tetracycline Cepbalothin Many antibiotics can be incorporated with binders such as wax, such as waxy polyethylene glycol, resins, such as polyvinyl alcohol, fats, solid hydrogenated oils, or infiltrated into a polyurethane open connecting cellular pad. Most antibiotics are quite water soluble, however. One gram of procaine penicillin G dissolves in 250 ml. water. Succinylsulfathiazol (US. Pat. No. 2,324,013) is an exception. One gram of this material dissolves in 4800 ml. of water. Another applicable sulfanilamide is N, N'-dimethyl N -sulfanilylsulfanilamide along with sulfapyridine. Consequently, it will be appreciated that the applicable bacteriostatic agents would be hexachlorophene, acriflavin or one of the sulfa drugs. Preferably the material would be in a suitable soluble binder which could be of choice.
Suitable binders would be water soluble parafi'm waxes such as a waxy polethylene glycol as exemplified in Pat. No. 3,431,339. Also, a 5 percent concentration of polyvinyl alcohol would also be applicable as can be seen from its prior use in a dental stick in Patent No. 2,623,003.
DRAWINGS OF THE INVENTION FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a fragmentary portion of a toothbrush which is partially in cross section.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is similar to FIG. 2 except that it shows another embodiment.
FIG. 4 is similar to FIG. 3 but shows still another embodiment.
FIG. 5 is similar to the view of FIG. 2 and is yet to another embodiment.
EXAMPLES OF THE INVENTION FIG 1 depicts in side view the working portion of a toothbrush wherein ll refers to the bristles which are secured as tufts in the base portion 12. The handle 13 is shown as a fragment of the whole. To the right of the bristles as shown a relatively small well 14 is shown. This well 14 is designed to carry the pellet l5 comprising the antimicrobial material or antimicrobial carrying material.
The form of the pellet 15 may take one ofa number of forms. For instance in FIG. 2 the pellet 15 has a eylindrical configuration with four elongated ribs 16. The ribs function to provide a friction fit in the well 14 as the pellet need not be adhesively secured in the well. The well 14 must of course have corresponding grooves adapted to accept the ribs on the pellet.
In FIG. 3 the pellet has a plurality of corrugations which correspond to those in the well. FIG. 4 is to a hexagonal shape while in FIG. 5 the pellet has a cross configuration.
In manufacture the pellets are extruded. The pellets are cut into suitable lengths for insertion into the handie of the toothbrush.
EXAMPLE I By Weight Acriflavine 93.9% Polyvinyl alcohol 5.0% Glycerin 1.0% Flavoring 0.09% Coloring agent 0.0l%
(eosin) The essential ingredient is, of course, the acriflavine, the polyvinyl alcohol and the glycerin. The above quantities of the various ingredients are mixed with water to form a paste. The paste is then molded into a rod like object. In molding the rods the paste is preferably extrusion molded into the form desired as shown in the above figures. The rods may be dried by the application of heat during the molding process or they may be removed from the molds and dried to drive off the water.
EXAMPLE II The formulation is similar to Example -I, however, hexachlorophene is substituted for the acriflavine.
EXAMPLE III Instead of the binder of Example I, polyethylene glycol having an average molecular weight of 6,000 7,500 (carbowax) is substituted.
Other applicable coloring agents are ponceau red and basic fuchsia.
While there have been shown and described particular embodiments of the invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the invention, and, therefore, it is aimed to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. In a toothbrush for repeated use in oral hygiene having a handle portion of a predetermined color and a bristle containing portion, the improvement comprising providing a well intermediate the handle portion and the bristle portion on the same side thereof, the well containing a slightly water soluble antimicrobial containing material suitable to sterilize said bristles after use, said antimicrobial containing material being of a color contrasting with said predetermined color and being transferred to said bristles by leaching and capillary action when said toothbrush is wetted after use.
2. The toothbrush of claim 1 wherein the well has a plurality of ribs along the side walls thereof.
3. The toothbrush of claim 1 wherein the antimicrobial containing material is in the form of a pellet having a cross configuration.
4. The toothbrush of claim 1 wherein the antimicrobial agent is selected from the group consisting of acriflavine, hexachlorophene and sulfonamides.
5. The toothbrush of claim 4 wherein the antimicrobial agent is in a binder selected from the group consisting of polyvinyl alcohol and polyethylene glycol having an average weight of about 300 to 8,000.