BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Individuals who travel away from home frequently find themselves without a toothbrush, toothpaste, or other necessary items of dental hygiene. Others may find the need to brush or floss their teeth during the workday or for social occasions, but may not have ready access to a toothbrush, floss, or other needed dental accessories. For these individuals and others in similar need, a readily transportable, easily disposable dental hygiene appliance would be of great value.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
While there are a number of such devices disclosed in the prior art, see for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,530,129; 6,009,886; 6,347,860; 6,526,991, none of these items offer a dental appliance which is simple to use, easily and cleanly transportable, effective in operation, and readily disposal.
It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a dental hygiene appliance which overcomes the disadvantages and limitations of the prior art.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a dental hygiene appliance which is easy to use and is readily transportable and which can be disposed of easily, quickly, and cleanly.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a dental hygiene appliance which is equipped with a toothbrush and fresh toothpaste for use while individuals are traveling or during work or for social occasions.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a dental hygiene appliance which may be equipped with a variety of dental care elements, such as floss, toothpick, or a rigid tooth cleaning attachment.
It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a dental hygiene appliance which, while easy to use, readily transportable and easily disposable, ensures good dental hygiene.
These and other objects are accomplished by the present invention, a portable dental hygiene appliance which is made up of two separable components. The first component consists of an enclosed compartment in which toothpaste, sealed within an airtight bag or in caplet form, is located. At one end of the compartment a dental element, such as a toothpick, floss support, rigid tooth cleaning element, is located for ease of use. At the other end of the component there is an accessway with an opening leading to the compartment. The second component includes a toothbrush at one end and a blade or similar piercing device at the other. During normal transport of the appliance, the two components can easily be carried adjacent each other. When the user needs to brush his or her teeth, the blade in the second component is inserted into the accessway of the first component in order to pierce or puncture the sealed bag or caplet containing the toothpaste. The compartment, which is resiliently flexible in nature, can then be squeezed, forcing the toothpaste through the accessway, out of the first component and onto the toothbrush of the second component. After use, the components are designed to be readily disposed of or reused.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The novel features which are considered as being characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its design, construction, and use, together with additional features and advantages thereof, are best understood upon a review of the following detailed description with reference to the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is an exploded, isometric view of the dental hygiene appliance of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an exploded, isometric view of an alternate embodiment of the dental hygiene appliance of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of another embodiment of the dental hygiene appliance of the present invention.
The dental hygiene appliance of the present invention 1 comprises separate components 2 and 4. Component 2 includes enclosed compartment 6 made of flexible, squeezable plastic material, such as may be used as the tube packaging which encloses toothpaste. Attached at one end of compartment 6 is a dental tool such as toothpick 8. At the other end of compartment 6 is accessway 10, shown in FIG. 1 as being tunnular in configuration, with opening 12 at one end and the other end being opened to compartment 6. Located within compartment 6 is sealed bag 14 which encloses toothpaste 16. Toothpaste can also be located within sealed caplet 15, positioned within compartment 6, as shown in FIG. 2. Component 2 can also be equipped with dental floss element 18, as shown in FIG. 2, rigid tooth cleaning element 20, shown in FIG. 3, or any known dental tool of choice.
Component 4 is cylindrical in configuration with tube section 21 and resiliently formed wing members 22. Blade 23 is secured at one end of component 4 and toothbrush 24 is secured at the other. In storage mode, tube section 21 of component 4 is positioned within accessory 10 of component 2, such that wing members 22 are positioned within slots 25, located on either side of accessory 10. Alternatively, components 2 and 4 can be threadably connected at 32 and 34.
It can readily be seen that, in operation, component 4 is pushed such that wing members 22 move past slots 25 and into accessway 10, such that blade 23 pierces or punctures sealed bag 14 within compartment 6. The squeezable nature of compartment 6 allows the user to push compartment 6, which results in toothpaste 16 flowing through accessway 10 and opening 12, where the toothpaste can be placed on toothbrush 24 for use. Toothpick 8, floss element 18, and rigid tooth cleaner 20, also may be used in the teeth cleaning process.
It is contemplated that other cleaning elements may be located on component 4. For instance, sponge 26 or brush 28 can be positioned on component 4, in lieu of toothbrush 24.
Compartment 6 may be formed as an integrally closed unit as shown in FIG. 3, which may be disposed of after toothpaste 16 is dispensed. It also may be formed with cover 30, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, to allow refill/replacement of toothpaste bag 14 or caplet 15.
Appliance 1 can also be reused if toothpaste 16 in compartment 6 is not totally dispensed after initial or secondary use. Towards this end, component 4 is simply inserted into accessway 10 where it remains to close and seal the accessway, allowing the remaining toothpaste 16 enclosed in compartment 6 to be used once again.
Certain novel features and components of this invention are disclosed in detail in order to make the invention clear in at least one form thereof. However, it is to be clearly understood that the invention as disclosed is not necessarily limited to the exact form and details as disclosed, since it is apparent that various modifications and changes may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.