US 3811447 A
An oral hygiene appliance for removing plaque from interior surfaces of the mouth not adequately cleaned by conventional tooth-brushing. The device comprises two V-shaped jackets pivotally joined at one end by a pin. A flat elongate tongue scraper blade is held by the pin at one end within a first jacket. The blade is angularly moveable between a storage position within the jacket and a use position exterior to the jacket. A flat spool swivels into and out of the other jacket in a similar manner.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Weber [451 May 21, 1974 1 ORAL HYGIENE APPLIANCE  Inventor: Alice Weber, 604 Ellis St., San
Francisco, Calif. 94109  Filed: May 29, 1973  Appl. No.: 364,600
 US. Cl. 128/304, 132/90  Int. Cl. A6lb 17/24, A61c 15/00  Field of Search 128/304; 132/79 E, 84 A,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3/1924 Olson et al 132/90 X 1,893,524 l/l933 Shanley 128/304 3,683,924 8/1972 Louie 128/304 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 13,341 0/1894 Great Britain 132/84 A Primary Examiner-Channing L; Pace Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Townsend and Townsend 57] ABSTRACT An oral hygiene appliance for removing plaque from interior surfaces of the mouth not adequately cleaned larly moveable between a storage position within the jacket and a use position exterior to the jacket. A flat spool swivels into and out of the other jacket in a similar manner.
4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures ORAL HYGIENE APPLIANCE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to oral hygiene apparatus, and particularly to apparatus for removing plaque from interior surfaces of the mouth.
Dentists have become increasingly aware of the role of plaque in causing tooth decay. Plaque is a thin film of mucus which forms on the interior surfaces of the mouth, and which contains bacteria which is the actual cause of tooth decay. The bacteria in the plaque is sup plied by food and other matter ingested through the mouth. Toothbrushing had long been considered the accepted method of preventing tooth decay. However, toothbrushing is only fully effective in cleaning the exposed surfaces of the teeth, and is not completely effective in cleaning the interstices between adjacent teeth. Hence, while toothbrushing removes plaque from the exposed surfaces of the teeth, it does not effectively remove plaque from the crevices between the teeth, nor from other surfaces of the mouth.
Dentists are becoming more aware of the deficiencies of toothbrushing in completely removing plaque from the teeth, and additional methods for cleaning teeth which supplement toothbrushing are now often recommended. One common method is to use dental floss or dental tape, which is inserted between the teeth and moved back and forth to clean the areas between the teeth. Another approach is the use of a dental irrigator which squirts a pulsating jet of water which cleans the areas between the teeth. These methods have achieved success in removing some of the plaque missed by toothbrusing, effectively cleaning the areas between teeth.
A basic deficiency in the use of dental floss, dental tape, a dental irrigator or like apparatus in removing plaque is that other surfaces within the mouth also contain plaque. During ingestion of food through the mouth, a layer of plaque is formed on all interior surfaces of the mouth, particularly the tongue. When the tongue is moved around the mouth, the layer of plaque on the tongue is transferred to the teeth. Hence, the efforts involved in cleaning the teeth through toothbrushing and the use of dental floss and other apparatus is to a large extent obviated due to the layer of plaque left on the tongue.
The use of tongue scrapers to clean the layer of plaque off the tongue is well known, and several such devices exist in the prior art. However, the devices presently available do not incorporate a means of cleaning the areas between the teeth as well as the tongue, to provide a thorough means of removing the plaque left by toothbrushing. When a combination apparatus has been attempted, as illustrated by the patent to Yao, US. Pat. No. 3,254,356 for a combined toothbrush, tongue scraper and ear cleaner, the apparatus provided no means for covering the tongue scraper when not in use. For this reason, formeroral' hygiene apparatus employing a combination of implements have not met with common acceptance.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides oral hygiene'apparatus for removing plaque from interior surfaces of the mouth not adequately cleaned by toothbrushing. The apparatus provides both a tongue scraper and a flat elongate spool adapted to contain a length of dental tape thereon. The scraper and the spool are pivotally attached within V-shaped jackets, and are angularly moveable relative to the jackets. When either of the implements is to be used, the scraper or the spool can be pivoted out of its jacket, with the unused implement remaining in its jacket.
With the present invention, plaque may be cleaned from both the tongue and the areas between the teeth, thus providing a complete supplement to toothbrushing. Both the scraper and the tape are contained in a single apparatus so that a complete program of oral hygiene can be accomplished with the single tool in combination with the usual toothbrush. The apparatus is designed so that when either the scraper or the dental tape are being used, the implement not in use is contained in its jacket. Hence, the unused implement is shielded from contact with the hands of the user.
The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the invention, both as to organization andv BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1' is an elevation view of the present invention with the tongue scraper pivoted out of its respective jacket for use;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the present invention with the spool pivoted out of its respective jacket for use of the dental tape;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevation view of the pin connection of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the present invention with the tongue scraper and the spool stored within their respective jackets;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the present invention, illustrating use of the tongue scraper.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring initially to FIG. I, the apparatus 10 of the present invention is illustrated with the tongue scraper blade portion 12 pivoted partially outwardly from its respective V-shaped jacket 14. Tongue scraper 12 comprises an elongate strip which is flexible so that it can be flexed for use, but is sufficiently rigid so that each edge thereof can be used to scrape plaque from the tongue. A spool of dental tape is contained within jacket 16, as will hereinafter be illustrated. Tongue scraper l2, jacket 14 and jacket 16 are all pivotable about a common pin connection 18, so that jackets l4 and 16 can be aligned with tongue scraperl2 extending therefrom for use.
Referring next to FIG. 2', the apparatus 10 is illustrated with the tongue scraper (not visible), stored in its respective V-shaped jacket 14', but with the flat elongate spool 20'pivoted outwardly from its respective V-shaped jacket 16. A length of dental tape 22' is wrapped around spool 20, and has a loose end 24 which fits into slot 26 of spool 20. By grasping end 24, tape 22 can be removed from slot 26 and unwound for cleaning the plaque from the areas between teeth in the traditional manner.
The details of pin connection are illustrated by way of reference to the cross-sectional elevation view of FIG. 3. A flat pin head 30 has a pin section 32 extending therefrom. Pin section 32 passes through one of the ends of each of V-shaped jackets l4 and 16. Also, pin section 32 passes through one of the ends of the tongue scraper l2 and the flat elongate spool 20 pivotally securing those ends in the ends of the respective jackets. A releasable member 34 is attachable to end section 32 opposite head 30, and presses the sides of the jackets together to provide frictional engagement between the scraper l2 and spool 20 and their respective jackets. Member 34 is releasable in order that the apparatus can be disassembled to allow for periodic replacement of spool 20 and tongue scraper 12.
Storage of both the tongue scraper and the dental tape within V-shaped jackets l4 and 16 is illustrated by way of reference to FIG. 4. As is apparent from the figure, the apparatus can easily be placed in a medicine cabinet or other place of storage when not in use, with the tongue scraper and the dental tape enclosed by their respective jackets.
Use of the tongue scraper 12 is illustrated by way of reference to FIG. 5. Tongue scraper 12 is pivoted out of its respective jacket 14, and empty jacket 14 is aligned with jacket 16, which contains the dental tape. Tongue scraper 12 can then be grasped at both ends, with one hand holding the jackets I4 and 16, and the other hand holding the free end of the tongue scraper. In this manner, tongue scraper l2 can be flexed into the position illustrated, and the. edges thereof used to scrape the plaque from the tongue. After use of the tongue scraper, it can be replaced in jacket 14 and the spool of dental tape 22 pivoted outwardly for use.
While the preferred embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated in detail, it is obvious that modifications and adaptations of that embodiment will occur to those skilled in the art. However, it is to be expressly undersood that such modifications and adapta tions are within the spirit and scope of the present invention, as set forth in the following claims.
What I claim as new is:
1. Apparatus for removing plaque from interior surfaces of the mouth not adequately cleaned by toothbrushing, said apparatus comprising: first and second tandem V-shaped jackets; a flat elongate tongue scraper blade insertable into the first jacket; a flat elongate spool insertable into the second jacket, said flat elongate spool adapted to contain a length of dental tape thereon; and pin means inserted transversely through one of the ends of each of the jackets and projecting through one of the ends of the tongue scraper and one of the ends of the elongate spool to pivotally attach said one end of the tongue scraper to the first jacket and said one end of the flat elongates pool to the second jacket, so that said tongue scraper and said elongate spool are storeable within the respective first and second V-shaped jackets but are selectably pivotable outwardly from said jackets for use.
2. Apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein the pin means is releasable to allow for periodic removal and replacement of the tongue scraper and the elongate spool of dental tape.
3. Apparatus for removing plaque from interior surfaces of the mouth not adequately cleaned by toothbrushing, said apparatus comprising:
a flat elongate flexible tongue scraper blade;
a first V-shaped jacket adapted to contain the blade;
connector means pivotally securing the blade within the jacket by attachment at one end;
a flat spool adapted to'contain a length of flexible dental cleaning material thereon; and
a second V-shaped jacket adapted to receive the flat spool and pivotally connected to said first jacket at one end by said connector means.
whereby the blade is moveable from a storage position within the first jacket externally to said jacket for use of the blade, and the flat spool is moveable from a storage position with said second jacket exterior to said jacket for use of the dental cleaning material.
4. Apparatus as recited in claim 3 wherein the dental cleaning material comprises dental tape.