US 3847168 A
A manually held dental floss/toothbrush is disclosed including an elongated handle member having a dental floss storage compartment with a Y-shaped dental floss supporting and tensioning means mounted on one end of the handle; a floss tensioning pin is mounted in the handle member for tensioning dental floss on the Y-shaped means. Another aspect of the invention resides in an implement storage chamber in the handle in which a toothbrush head or the Y-shaped member are stored during use of the other member.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Schlegel Nov. 12, 1974 1 1 TOOTH CLEANING APPLIANCE  Inventor: Ulrich R. Schlegel, Bellcvue Farms, Primary McNeil Rte 1 Towson Md 22186 Attorney, Agent. or F1'1-m-Mason, Fenw1ck &
' Lawrence  Filed: Aug. 8, 1973 ] Appl. N0.: 386,529  ABSTRACT A manually held dental floss/toothbrush is disclosed  US. Cl 132/92 R including an elongated handle member having a dental A  Int. Cl. A610 15/00 floss storage compartment with a Y-shaped dental  Field of Search 132/92 R, 91, 84, 93; floss supporting and tensioning means mounted on l5/l67 one end of the handle; a floss tensioning pin is mounted in the handle member for tensioning dental  References Cited floss on the Y-shaped means. Another aspect of the UNITED STATES PATENTS invention resides in an implement storage chamber in no 409 [1917 Freschl 132/92 R the handle in which a toothbrush head or the Y- 1: ;z 6:463 7/1934 Ro e..QIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII"'IIIII132/92 R eheped member eeeeee during ef the eehee 2.577597 12/1951 Wright et al. 132 92 R 7 2 784722 3/1957 Chamberlin et al.. 132/92 R 7,672,377 6/1972 Greenacre .1 132/92 R 10 Clams 8 Draw'ng figures TOOTH CLEANING APPLIANCE This invention is in the field of dental appliances and is specifically directed to a tooth cleaning device having the capacity for both brushing teeth and cleaning teeth by the use of dental floss.
A wide variety of dental floss supporting and dispensing appliances have evolved over the years with many of such devices incorporating fork-like means for holding a strand of dental floss to be employed between the users teeth. Unfortunately, the prior known devices have frequently failed to maintain the floss in a taut condition necessary for successful use and have also been difficult to manipulate and properly use due to Therefore, it is the primary object of this invention to provide a new and improved tooth cleaning appliance.
Another object of this invention is the provision of new and improved tooth cleaning means employing both dental floss and brush components.
Yet another object of the invention is the provision I of new and improved tooth cleaning means that enable I the use of tightly tensioned dental floss which can easily be replaced and which also alternatively enables the use of a toothbrush, with theparts not being used at any particular time being stored in sanitary protected environments.
Achievement of the foregoing objects is enabled by this invention through the provision of an elongated handle member comprising a cylindrical shell having axial storage compartments separated by a center wall and including a forwardly extending implement support member threadably received in one end of the cylindrical portion. A dental floss passageway extends outwardly through the implement support member and a dental floss tensioning pin is mounted for reciprocation in a transverse opening in the implement support member so that dental floss extending about a Y.-shaped support member threadably received in the outer end ofthe implement support member can be engaged with the pin. The pin is then axially moved inwardly of the implement support member to tension the floss engaging the pin extending about the Y-shaped means.
The tensioning pin includes a V-shaped cutting portion in a head flange portion of the pin externally of the implement support member so that used dental floss can be easily severed from a new strand of dental floss introduced over the Y-shaped supporting means.
A significant aspect of the invention resides in the specific construction of the Y-shaped supporting and tensioning member which is unitarily formed of plastic and comprises two spreader arms joined at a flexible hinge portion at the apex of the arms with a support stem extending away from the apex. The outer end of the support stem is threaded on its outer periphery and includes a bisecting cut extending through its axis up to a position adjacent the bent hinge portion so that the spreader arms can be moved together with a consequent outward movement of the half-cylinder portion of the support stem to reduce the overall dimensions of the Y-shaped means so that it can be accommodated in the implement storage chamber in the cylindrical sleeve portion of the handle.
Another aspect of the invention involves the provision of a toothbrush head having a threaded end portion dimensioned to be threadably received in the outer end of the implement support member and being dimensioned to be stored in the implement storage compartment during periods of non-use.
A better understanding of the subject invention will be achieved when the following written description of the preferred embodiment is read in conjunction with the appended drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the invention assembled with the dental floss supporting and tensioning means in position for use;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment assembled with a toothbrush head in position for use;
FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the preferred embodiment of P101;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the embodiment as assembled in FIG. 1;
I FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 55 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 5 illustrating the tensioning pin in its inward or dental floss tensioning position;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 6 but illustrating the dental floss tensioning pin in its outer or non-tensioning position; and
FIG. 8 is a bisecting sectional view of the implement storage compartment illustrating the manner in which 7 the Y-shaped dental floss tensioning member is stored therein. t
Attention is initially invited to FIG. 1 of the drawings in which the preferred embodiment, generally designated 10, is illustrated in assembled condition for employment of a strand of dental floss 12 for use in a tooth cleaning operation. The preferred embodiment in-' cludes a handle member comprising a cylindrical shell 20 and a forwardly extending implement support member 22.
34 snaps over the outer end of the cylindrical shell 20 for maintaining the toothbrush head 32 inside the shell but can easily be removed for enabling removal of the toothbrush head from-the implement storage chamber 28 in an obvious manner.
The forward end of the cylindrical shell 20 is provided with internal threads 36 forwardly of the dental floss storage chamber 26 and in which a cylindrical threaded end portion 38 of the implement support member 22 is received.
Implement support member 22 includes a dental floss guide passageway 40 through which dental floss 12 ex: tends from a roll of dental floss 42 in the dental floss storage chamber 26. A transverse aperture is provided through the implement support member 22 for supporting a floss tensioning pin means 44 with the transverse opening comprising a conical upper portion 46 and a cylindrical lower portion 48 as best illustrated in FIG. 6.
Tensioning pin means 44 comprises a first cylindrical portion 50 terminating inwardly in a radial flat plane surface 52. A tapered conical portion 54 has its smallest diameter end portion adjacent the radial plane surface 52 and extends downwardly through a point at which its larger diameter portion merges with a second cylindrical portion 56. A head flange 58 is connected to the upper end of. the first cylindrical portion 50 and includes a V-shaped cutting notch 60 having sharp edges 62 on which floss can be cut.
An internally threaded implement mounting aperture 64 is provided in the outer end of the implement support member 22 for receiving either a Y-shaped floss supporting and tensioning means 66 illustrated in FIG. 1 or the toothbrush head 32 illustrated in FIGS. 2 and S.
Connection of the toothbrush head 32 to the internally threaded aperture 64 is enabled by a threaded stem portion 68 provided on the end of the toothbrush head as best shown in FIG. 5.
The Y-shaped supporting and tensioning means 66 includes first and second spreader arms 70 each notched at its outer end for receiving dental floss 12. Spreader arms 70 join at an apex defined by a thin hinge portion 72 from which a support stem 74 extends. Support stem 74 includes an outer externally threaded cylindrical connector portion 76 formed of two half-cylinders 76' (FIG. 8) formed due to the fact that the support stem 74 and its connector portion 76 are bisected axially along a line 78 up to the hinge portion 72. The foregoing construction enables the spreader arms 70 to move inwardly about hinge 72 while the half-cylinder portions 76 move outwardly to provide a resultant configuration illustrated in FIG. 8 which enables storage of the Y-shaped support and tensioning means in the implement storage chamber 28.
When using the preferred embodiment with the dental floss supporting and tensioning means as illustrated in FIG. 1, dental floss 12 is pulled outwardly from the guide passageway 40 past the floss tensioning pin 44 which is in its outer or extended position illustrated in FIG. 7 so that the floss extends abuttingly against the radial flange 52 and the tapered conical surface 50 as shown in FIGS. 7 and 4. The floss also extends upwardly about the outer ends of the spreader arms 70 through the slots in the outer ends of the arms 70 with the end 12 of the floss extending under the radial flange 52, in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 7. The tensioning pin 44 is then moved from the position illustrated in FIG. 7 downwardly into the position illustrated in FIG. 6 with this movement serving to tension the floss and hold it in the position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4.
There is sufficient frictional engagement of the pin 44 and the floss on the pin with the cylindrical surface 48 of the transverse opening extending through the implement support member 22 to maintain the pin 44 in the position illustrated in FIG. 6 so that the floss is maintained in a taut condition. Should it be desired to replace the floss, the pin 44 is then moved into the FIG. 7-position and a new length of floss is pulled from the roll 42 outwardly through the guide passageway 40 and.
sitioning the floss in the notch followed by a tensioning of the floss so that the sharp edges 62 sever the floss in a manner that will be apparent.
Additionally, should the floss become lodged between the teeth of the user so as to be difficult to remove in a direction transverse to theaxis of the floss between arms 70, pin 44 can be moved to the FIG. 7 position to release the floss so that it can then be withdrawn lengthwise from between the users teeth.
when it is desired to use the toothbrush head 32, the Y-shaped support and tensioning member 66 is removed from the implement supporting means 22 and the toothbrush head 32 is threaded into the aperture 64. During usage of the toothbrush head 32, the Y- shaped tensioning and support means 66 can be positioned in the implement storage chamber 28 as shown in FIG. 8.
Therefore, it will be appreciated that the subject invention provides an easily used, economical to manufacture tooth cleaning implement of substantial versatility. While numerous modifications will undoubtedly occur to those of skill in the art, it should be understood that the spirit and scope of the invention is to be limited solely in light of the appended claims.
1. A manually held device for enabling the removal of food particles from the teeth of a user, said device comprising an elongated handle member, a dental floss storage compartment in the interior of said handle member for storing a supply of dental floss, a supply of dental floss in said dental floss storage compartment, a Y-shaped dental floss supporting and tensioning means including first and second spreader arms flaring outwardly from a support stem portion, an implement storage chamber in the interior of said handle member for storing said Y-shaped dental floss supporting and tensioning means, connecting means for removably attaching said support stem to one end of said handle member, a dental floss tensioning pin including a dental floss holding portion engageable with dental floss extending from said Y-shaped means, pin support means in said handle member supporting said dental floss tensioning pin for axial movement between an extended position in which said dental floss holding portion is exposed externally of said handle so that the portions of a length of dental floss extending from said dental floss storage compartment across said spreader arms can be engaged with said dental floss holding portion and an inward floss tensioning position in which the dental floss holding portion is positioned inwardly of said handle so that dental floss engaging said holding portion when said pin is in its extended position is tensioned by movement of said pin to its inward position.
2. The invention of claim 1 wherein said dental floss tensioning pin comprises first and second axially spaced coaxial cylindrical portions, a tapered conical portion connecting said first and second cylindrical portions coaxially between said cylindrical portions, said tapered conical portion having a larger end adjacent the innermost end of said second cylindrical portion and a smaller end terminating in aradial plane surface defining the innermost extent of said first cylindrical portion, said radial surface and said tapered conical surface comprising said dental floss holding portion of said pin, a head flange extending radially outwardly from the outer end of said first cylindrical portion externally of said handle member and a base flange extending radially outwardly from the outer end of said second cylindrical portion externally of said handle member on the opposite side of said handle member from said head flange, wherein said support means in said handle supporting said dental floss tensioning pin comprises a transverse passageway extending through said handle defined by an inwardly tapering conical surface extending inwardly in a converging manner from the side of said handle adjacent said head flange and terminating medially of said handle and a cylindrical surface of a diameter approximately equal the diameter of said second cylindrical portion extending from the inner termination of said conical portion to the opposite side of said handle adjacent said base flange.
3. The invention of claim 1 wherein said first cylindrical portion and said conical surface in said handle are of approximately the same axial length.
4. The invention of claim 3 additionally including an inwardly extending'V-shaped slot in said head flange having sharp edges for enabling the severing of said dental floss.
5. The invention of claim 4 wherein said handle member comprises a cylindrical sleeve having a threaded aperture in one end and an elongated implement support member having a base end threadably received in said threaded aperture in said cylindrical sleeve and an outer end having an internally threaded implement attachment recess and further including a toothbrush head having a threaded rod end threadably receivable in said implement attachment recess, said toothbrush head being dimensioned to be received in said implement storage chamber.
6. The invention of claim 5 wherein said Y-shaped dental floss supporting and tensioning means is formed unitarily of plastic material, said stem portion is split along its axis and includes a split cylindrical end member having threads on its outer surface dimensioned to be threadably receivable in said implement attachment recess and split along an axial plane into two halfcylinders, a flexible hinge portion defining a junction between said flaring arms and said half-cylinders, said flexible hinge portion being relatively thin so that said flaring arms can be bent to move toward each other to permit said Y-shaped means to be received in said implement storage chamber. Y
7. The invention of claim 6 additionally including a radial wall formed internally of said cylindrical sleeve and separating said dental floss storage compartment and said implement storage chamber.
8. The invention of claim 7 additionally including a dental floss guide passageway extending through said implement support member from the base end of said implement support member and having an outer termination adjacent said head flange of said pin whereby a strand of dental floss from a body of dental floss stored in said dental floss storage compartment can be pulled outwardly from said compartment for attachment to said Y-shaped support and engagement with said tensioning pin.
9. The invention of claim 8 additionally including floss guide slots in the outer ends of said spreader arms.
10. The invention of claim 9 wherein said tensioning pin is formed of metal.