CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This application is related to and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/765,739, filed Feb. 07, 2006, entitled TRAVEL TOOTHBRUSH WITH TOOTHPASTE IN HANDLE, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.
- FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to toothbrushes, and more specifically to a travel toothbrush having a toothpaste dispenser in the handle.
Normally people brush their teeth at home, storing their toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste In the bathroom or in the kitchen. However, when people travel, proper care of the teeth becomes problematical. Some travel cases are available for toiletries that include a carrying case for a toothbrush, but no provision is made for carrying a tube of toothpaste. Some toothbrushes are available that provide for storage of toothpaste, and even for dispensing toothpaste through the handle onto the bristles. However, such devices are often bulky, are not portable, or do not provide for easy cleaning of the toothpaste conduit through the handle. Further, with frequent use the bristles may become worn, and such toothbrushes do not provide for replacement of the brush head. Finally, portable toothbrushes are often not compact, and often no provision is made for securing the portable toothbrush in a pocket, so that the toothbrush does not have to be carried in luggage.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, a travel toothbrush with a toothpaste dispenser in the handle solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
The travel toothbrush with a toothpaste dispenser in the handle is designed for portable use. The toothbrush has a toothpaste chamber defined in the handle, the chamber having a proximal opening adjacent the brush head and a distal opening at the free end of the handle. The distal opening is adapted for loading toothpaste into the toothpaste chamber and accommodating a plunger. The brush head is removably attached to the handle, and has a conduit communicating with the proximal end of the handle chamber, the conduit terminating in a discharge opening beneath the bristles. A resilient flapper valve is disposed in the brush head conduit, and is normally open so that the plunger may be used to force toothpaste through the handle onto the bristles. The toothbrush is provided with a removable cap having a stopper that slides into an axial bore in the brush head to force the flapper valve into a closed position; and a clip for securing the toothbrush to a pocket for transport and storage. The brush head has a bore with internal threads for engaging a threaded proximal end of the handle, so that the brush head is replaceable.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a travel toothbrush with a toothpaste dispenser in the handle according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a partially exploded front view of the travel toothbrush according to the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a partially exploded side view of the travel toothbrush according to the present invention.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the present invention is a travel toothbrush with a toothpaste dispenser in the handle, designated generally, as 105 in the drawings, that has a toothpaste chamber 122 built into the handle 115. The toothpaste chamber 122 is refillable, and is preferably substantially cylindrical. The toothpaste chamber 122 should be capable of storing enough toothpaste to permit repeated use for at least ten times before a refill is required. The toothpaste chamber 122 has an open proximal end 125 and an open distal end 126. The handle 115 preferably has a frustroconical taper approaching the proximal end 125, which is externally threaded.
The distal opening 126 is adapted for loading toothpaste into the toothpaste chamber 122 and accommodating a plunger 110. An open, concave, semi cylindrical handle extension 120 may be provided for a platform-like support of the plunger 110 in various axial positions.
A brush head 130 has an axial bore 129 extending from a free end 133 to a handle attachment end 134, i.e., throughout an entire length of the brush head 130, a front surface 131 having bristles 132 extending therefrom, and a toothpaste outlet 135 defined in the front surface, preferably in, or proximal to, a middle region of the bristles 132, the outlet communicating with the axial bore 129. A resilient flapper valve 137 is hinged, e.g., by a living hinge, within the axial bore 129, and is normally open, as shown in FIG. 3, to block the passage of toothpaste through the axial bore between the toothpaste outlet 135 and the free end 133 of the brush head 130, leaving the toothpaste outlet open so that the plunger 110 can force toothpaste through the handle chamber 122 and axial bore 129 to exit toothpaste outlet 135 and coat the bristles 132 with toothpaste.
The axial bore 129 is internally threaded at the handle attachment end 131 in order to receive the externally threaded proximal end 125 of the handle 115, thereby joining chamber 122 to axial bore 129. This construction permits replacement of the brush head 130, and also allows the brush head 130 to be removed for cleaning the handle chamber 122 and the axial bore 129.
When toothpaste or other dentifrice, such as gel, liquid, tooth powder and the like, is loaded into the chamber 122 at the distal end 126, a sufficient insertion of the plunger 110 into the distal opening 126 causes the toothpaste to flow through the proximal opening 125, into the body aperture 129, and through the toothpaste outlet 135 onto the bristles 132.
In storage, a cap 140 having an open end 142 and an internally disposed stopper 150 slidable through axial bore 129 covers the brush head 130. The stopper 150 slides into axial bore 129, causing flapper valve 137 to pivot to a closed position covering and sealing toothpaste outlet 135. Thus, the cap 140 and flapper valve 137 are provided to block the toothpaste outlet 135 for the purpose of avoiding accidental discharge of the toothpaste, avoiding soiling of a person's pocket, and protecting the brush body 130 against dirt and germs, as well as keeping the toothpaste inside the chamber ever fresh and free from drying and contamination.
Additionally, the cap 140 may have a pocket clip 145 disposed along an outside wall of the cap 140 so that the toothbrush 105 may be clipped to one's shirt pocket, and the like.
Preferable dimensions of the toothbrush 105 without the cap 140 range from a width of approximately 1.3 to 1.6 cm at the handle 115, a width of approximately 1.0 to 1.3 cm at the brush head 130, and a length ranging from 13.5 to 16.5 cm. The travel toothbrush 105 may be made from plastic material, or from corrosion resistant metal alloys, if desired.
It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.