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Publication numberUS3924647 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 9, 1975
Filing dateFeb 28, 1974
Priority dateFeb 28, 1974
Publication numberUS 3924647 A, US 3924647A, US-A-3924647, US3924647 A, US3924647A
InventorsLindblad Frederick Waldemar
Original AssigneeLindblad Frederick Waldemar
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dental floss applicator
US 3924647 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Lindblad Dec. 9, 1975 DENTAL FLOSS APPLICATOR [76] Inventor: Frederick Waldemar Lindblad, P.O.

Box 1388, Aurora, 111. 60507 22 Filed: Feb. 28, 1974 21 Appl. No.: 446,752

[52] US. Cl 132/92 R [51] Int. Cl. A61C 15/00 [58] Field of Search 132/92, 89, 90, 91

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,607,358 8/1952 Maas 132/92 R 3,814,114 6/1974 Roberts 132/92 A Primary ExaminerG. E. McNeil] Attorney, Agent, or FirmMorris Spector [57] ABSTRACT 3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures US. Patent Dec. 9, 1975 DENTAL FLOSS APPLICATOR This invention relates to a dental floss applicator. The applicator of this invention receives at one end a supply of dental floss, and has at the other end means for holding a short fixed length of floss taught and in such a manner as to permit positioning the dental floss between adjacent teeth and manipulating the handle for moving the floss to perform the desired cleaning function.

An object of this invention is to provide an applicator of the above character that can carry its own supply of floss, to be drawn as needed, from a floss compartment that is part of the applicator, and wherein the compartment remains sealed against entry of water thereinto, thus permitting rinsing of the applicator without wetting or contaminating the supply of dental floss in the compartment.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an applicator that facilitates tensionin g of a length of floss between a pair of tines and easily wedging or locking it against the body of the applicator to maintain it tensioned.

Another object of this invention is to provide an applicator of the above character wherein the working tensioned position of the floss extends between two tines that are spaced apart only sufficiently to enable a comfortable straddling of the teeth by the tines, but leaving very little space between the tines and the teeth being straddled, thereby discouraging tendency for the operator to manipulate the tensioned floss by a sawing movement in attempting to clean the teeth.

The attainments of the above and further objects of this invention will be obvious from the following specification and drawing forming a part thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a longitudinal cross-section view through an applicator of the present invention, taken along the line 1-1 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the applicator of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an end view and partial section of a modified construction showing an alternate way of tensioning the dental floss;

FIG. 5 is a plan view showing still another modification and partial section; and

FIG. 6 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 5.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Reference may now be had more particularly to the drawings wherein like reference numerals designate like parts throughout.

A dental floss applicator 1 includes a plastic handle portion 2 having at one end 3 thereof means forming a chamber 4 for receiving a supply of dental floss 6, in this case, on a bobbin 7 that is centered by a circular post 8 and surrounded by a circular rim 9, the outside of which is tapered to be of greater diameter at the base thereof than at the top. A plastic cap is frictionally held on the rim 9. The strand ll of dental floss passing between the rim 9 and the cap 10 and being wedged in place by the two. The dental floss is quite compressible and is in effect squeezed between the rim and the cap so that the separation of the two by the intervening floss is so very slight that water does not pass through 2 that small space. The applicator may be rinsed in water without any water entering the chamber 4 that contains the floss, the chamber remaining sealed.

The opposite end of the handle 2 has a pair of tines 12-13, extending lengthwise of the handle. Each tine has a slot or groove, 14-15, for receiving a length 17 of dental floss that is held in position across the tines as will be more fully described. The applicator has means for holding the length 17 taught. In the case of the embodiment of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, this means comprises a tapered post 20 which is an integral part of the handle 2 and has a slot 20' across its top surface. The handle also has an over-sized hole 22 therein through which the strand of dental floss may be threaded. Also included in the tension retaining means is a plastic cap 24 that may be slipped over the post 20 and frictionally retained in place.

As shown in FIG. 2, the end of the strand llof dental floss coming from the bobbin 7 is clamped inplace between the circular rim 9 and the surrounding wall of the plastic cap 10. This strand 11 is passed over the slot 20' across the top of the post 20, as indicated at 23, thence downwardly through the hole 23, thence through slots 14 and 15 in the tines, and is threaded upwardly through the hole 22 where it appears at 26 and then passed against the post 20. The clamp 25 clamps the strand in place by the elasticity of the surrounding wall 24 of the cap 10 bearing against the circular wall of the post 20. The end 29 of the dental floss is drawn and held taught while the cap 10 is being positioned. The dental floss length 17 may be used for the normal teeth cleaning operation which is performed by manipulating the handle 2 of the applicator. When a clean length of dental floss is required to replace the length 17, it is merely necessary to remove the cap 24, loosen the cap 10, draw new dental floss outwardly at the end 29, then tighten the cap 10, then while holding the end of the floss 29 taught reinsert the cap 24. Movement of the cap 24 downwardly wedges the portion 28 of the dental floss between the surface of the plug 20 and the interior surrounding surface of the wall 25 of the cap.

The applicator is made of non-brittle material, preferably a nylon type of plastic. The dental floss has a minimum amount of twist. When it is compressed between the cap 10 and the chamber 4, it flattens considerably so that it is exceedingly thin, of the order of 0.001 inches or even less, and the space that it does create between the cap 10 and the outside wall of the chamber 4 is capillary, so small that water does not enter through that space when the applicator is rinsed, the floss chamber remaining sealed. Thus, after each use the applicator may be rinsed without contaminating the dental floss therein.

It is quite common for users to use dental floss applicators erroneously, as by a sawing motion forward and backwardly, into and out of the mouth, whereas the action should be an up and down action. The distance between the free ends of the tines 12 and 13 about inches, which is only slightly greater than the maximum thickness of molar teeth normally encountered in large persons. This inhibits the tendency for moving the applicator as one does a saw, (up and down) in'the case of a person for whom the applicator is intended. The longitudinal axis 32 of the applicator is substantially at right angles to the direction of the length 17 of dental floss being used. This facilitates holding of the handle while the applicator is being used, even on the remote molars.

The applicator of the present invention is made of plastic material which can be easily and economically made and easily kept clean.

If desired, the applicator may be provided with means for facilitating tearing or cutting the dental floss that has been used. Such cutting action may be obtained by providing the handle with a sharp cutting edge at a convenient place, as for instance, at the bottom 35 or at the top of the cap 10, or elsewhere as desired.

Other means for holding the dental floss length 17 taught may be used. For instance, as shown in FIG. 4 the handle 2 of the applicator has a neck 40 having a tapered or conical hole 41 therein for receiving a tapered or conical plastic plug 42 which may be held captive to the handle by a length of thin flexible plastic 44 that is integral at one end with the plug and at the other end with the plastic handle 2', in any desired manner, as for instance in the original molding or by ultrasonic weldings. In this case the strand l1 initially is passed downwardly through the hole 22 and through the slots 14-15 and upwardly through the hole 22 and through the hole 22 as before, and the portion 26 is passed down through the hole 42 axially of that hole, and the end 29 is held taught while the plug is inserted in the hole 42. The plug not only wedging the strand in the hole 42, but also tending to pull on the portion 26 as the plug is being inserted, thereby tightening the section 17 of the dental floss.

FIGS. and 6 show still another way of quickly tightening or loosening the portion 17 of the dental floss. In this instance, the handle 2A has a thickened portion 50 that has two tapered holes for receiving tapered plugs 51 and 52 respectively. The holes in the handle 2A, and the plugs 51 52 are circular and cross-section and of substantially the same taper. In this instance, the strand 6 threads through the hole 50, then passes as indicated at 35 to the tine 12, then across to the opposite tine 13 as before from which it emerges as the length 26 which length is passed through the hole 50', and drawn and held taught. Thereafter, the plug 52 is pushed into position. Each of the plugs 51 52 has an enlarged head 60 at one end and another enlarged head 63 at the opposite end for facilitating movement of the plugs to and fro. They are held in position by friction. The heads 63 may be secured to the respective stems by electronic welding.

As may be seen from FIG. 4, the plug 42 as it is moved axially into the hole 41 moves as far as it can go determined by the taper. When it reaches the stop position that is far as it can go. From that position the plug may easily and quickly be moved in only one direction, namely, axially out of the hole 41. The enlarged head at one end of the plug facilitates such movement, which releases the grasp on the floss that extends through the hole. The same is true with reference to the plug 52 of FIG. 5 within the hole 50. If there is tightness between a tooth in the mouth and a denture on an adjacent tooth, and an attempt is made to lift the applicator fork to raise the floss out of the space between the denture and the adjacent tooth, the tightness of the fit may make it difficult to retract the floss from that space and any attempt to force it out may result in injury to the denture. If such tightness is encountered in the use of the device of the present invention it is an easy matter for the individual person to remove the floss without forcing it through the tight fit. This is accomplished by merely pulling upwardly on the enlarged head of the plug 42 of FIG. 4 or the plug 52 of FIG. 5. Because those plugs are now in a position where they can be moved only in one direction, it is a very easy matter for the person to release the plug and then pull the loose end of the dental floss through the space between the tooth and the denture.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the plane of the tines 12-13 is inclined at an angle 65 which in this instance is approximately 45 to the central axis of the handle. This facilitates use of the applicator in the region of the far molars.

I claim:

1. A dental floss applicator comprising a handle having at one end a substantially sealed chamber for receiving a supply of dental floss and at the opposite end a pair of tines extending lengthwise of the handle, the tines having means for supporting a length of dental floss across the free ends thereof, and the handle having wedge means between the chamber and said tines for holding said length of floss taught, said wedge means comprising two telescoping members having conical engaging surfaces movable into and out of telescoping engagement by movements parallel to the longitudinal axes of the conical surfaces, one of said surfacs being a substantially rigid part of the handle, and the other member having an enlarged head for facilitating pushing it onto and off said one member, the engagement of the conical surfaces constituting a limit of the extent of movement of the members into wedging position so that from that position only a reverse movement is possible, whereby the enlarged head facilitates quick release of the floss held between the tines.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein the chamber includes a movable cover in telescoping relation with the rest of the chamber and making a sealing fit therewith, with the strand of the floss extending from said chamber along the telescoping surfaces.

3. The combination of claim 2 wherein the material forming the chamber, including the cover, is of plastic and deformable about the extending strand to seal along the extending surface thereof.


Patent 21 Dated December 9, 1975 Inventor s) Frederick Waldemar Lindblad It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column L, line L0, after "off" insert --of. 1

Signed and Scaled this second Day of March 1976 [SEAL] Arrest:

RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN Arresting Officer Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2607358 *Dec 15, 1950Aug 19, 1952Maas Wesley EDental floss holder
US3814114 *Oct 17, 1972Jun 4, 1974Roberts EApparatus for storing dental floss and for holding dental floss during use
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4597398 *Feb 15, 1985Jul 1, 1986Chu Grace M MOral hygiene instrument for use with orthodontial appliances and method of cleaning same
US4622986 *Nov 4, 1985Nov 18, 1986Harris Robert WDental floss knot tying device
US4934523 *Aug 21, 1989Jun 19, 1990Strom Paul HDental floss container
US5038806 *Oct 19, 1990Aug 13, 1991Ewald Howard HDisposable dental flosser and holder
US5183065 *Mar 27, 1991Feb 2, 1993Mason Robert FDental flossing tool
US5301698 *Sep 25, 1992Apr 12, 1994Ballard Larry NMultiple lock dental floss holder and spool enclosure assembly therefor
US5375614 *Jun 25, 1993Dec 27, 1994Navratil; ZdenekDental floss
US5417232 *Sep 21, 1993May 23, 1995Ballard; Larry N.Multiple lock dental floss holder and spool enclosure assembly therefor
US6474347Jan 27, 2000Nov 5, 2002Anders HallinderDental floss holder
US8671958 *Aug 2, 2011Mar 18, 2014N. Michelle BorgOrthodontic flosser
US8967164Feb 22, 2013Mar 3, 2015N. Michelle BorgOrthodontic flosser
US20110284023 *Aug 2, 2011Nov 24, 2011Borg N MichelleOrthodontic flosser
US20140290691 *Sep 18, 2011Oct 2, 2014Roman KozakDental Tape and Floss Holder With Installation Cassette
US20140373860 *Jan 4, 2013Dec 25, 2014Beauty Promotions Inc.Nail Polishing Device
EP0676181A1 *Apr 3, 1995Oct 11, 1995Dirk WüsterInterdental cleaning device using dental floss
WO1993008763A1 *Oct 20, 1992May 13, 1993Zdenek NavratilDental floss self-applicator
U.S. Classification132/326
International ClassificationA61C15/04, A61C15/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61C15/046
European ClassificationA61C15/04E