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Numéro de publicationUS3823710 A
Type de publicationOctroi
Date de publication16 juil. 1974
Date de dépôt7 nov. 1972
Date de priorité7 nov. 1972
Numéro de publicationUS 3823710 A, US 3823710A, US-A-3823710, US3823710 A, US3823710A
InventeursJ Borden
Cessionnaire d'origineJ Borden
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Pulsed air toothbrush and method
US 3823710 A
Résumé
A system for cleansing teeth and gums is disclosed wherein a gas is pressurized to produce a series of pulses, and the gas pulses are injected into the mouth through an implement. The outlet orifice of the implement is positioned in juxtaposition to the teeth and gums to provide intimate but gentle contact and scrubbing action of the escaping bubbles that is particularly effective to remove plaque. Additional and higher intensity pulses may be provided by periodically sealing the outlet orifice to permit buildup of pressure and then releasing the seal to more effectively loosen foreign material and provide bubble scrubbing between the teeth, similar to known "flossing" action. Plaque is further combated by concurrent massaging with the resilient tip forming the outlet orifice, similar to known "wiggling" action, particularly around the gum line. The bubbling of the gas, preferably air, is effective to gently circulate the liquid solution of oral cleanser and saliva in the mouth of the user around and against the teeth and gums and thereby assuring movement of the bacteria away for disposal. The tip element has dual concentric flexible rims that provide a double seal against large surfaces; the inner smaller seal being solely effective against the smaller teeth. The pulsing air is generated by tandem diaphragm pumps, driven by electromagnetic motors that may be operated in or out of phase. Rebound of the oscillatable drive lever is enhanced by a resilient pad on the top of the diaphragm thus increasing the amplitude of the stroke.
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Description  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)

United States Patent [191 Borden PULSED AIR TOOTHBRUSH AND METHOD John V. Borden, 1835 Eye St., ehiestq yP92099a7..

22 Filed: Nov. 7, 1972 :1 Appl. No.: 304,568

[76] Inventor:

Primary Examiner-Lawrence W. Trapp Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Lowe, King and Price 57 ABSTRACT A system for cleansing teeth and gums is disclosed wherein a gas is pressurized to produce a series of pulses, and the gas pulses are injected into the mouth through an implement. The outlet orifice of the imple- [11 3,823,710 [451 July 16, 1974 ment is positioned in juxtaposition to the teeth and gums to provide intimate but gentle contact and scrubbing action of the escaping bubbles that is particularly effective to remove plaque. Additional and higher intensity pulses may be provided by periodically sealing the outlet orifice to permit buildup of pressure and then releasing the seal to more effectively loosen foreign material and provide bubble scrubbing between the teeth, similar to known flossing action. Plaque is further combated by concurrent massaging with the resilient tip forming the outlet orifice, similar to known wiggling action, particularly around the gum line. The bubbling of the gas, preferably air, is effective to gently circulate the liquid solution of oral cleanser and saliva in the mouth of the user around and against the teeth and gums and thereby assuring movement of the bacteria away for disposal. The tip element has dual concentric flexible rims that provide a double seal against large surfaces; the inner smaller seal being solely effective against the smaller teeth. The pulsing air is generated by tandem diaphragm pumps, driven by electromagnetic motors that may be operated in or out of phase. Rebound of the oscillatable drive lever is enhanced by a resilient pad on the top of the diaphragm thus increasing the amplitude of the stroke.

PATENTEDJULI 6 m4 summon PULSED AIR TOOTHBRUSH AND METHOD The present invention relates to cleansing of teeth and gums, and more particularly, to a method and apparatus for improvement of the process by utilizing a defined stream of gas, such as air.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It has for several years been known to use jets of water directed against teeth and gums in an attempt to enhance the cleansing process and for rinsing, as disclosed, for example, in the Finton U.S. Pat. No. 2,516,195, issued July 25, 1950. Another known method, disclosed in the U.S. Pat. to Mattingly, No. 3,227,158, issued Jan. 4, l966,-proposes the use of pulsed jets of liquid for the same purpose. As disclosed in this latter patent, the unit that is used includes a hydraulic pump that provides pulsing pressures through an implement that is placed in the mouth with the outlet orifice directed to shoot the liquid, preferably water, against and between the teeth and against thegums. This form of proposed oral hygiene is primarily intended as an assistant to the normal brushing operation, either before or after.

For several years, many dentists have so recommended the use of liquid jets, such as proposed by these references, as an aid to proper mouth cleansing. However, just recently, it has been found that the high pressure, high velocity liquid jets impinging on the gums has a deleterious effect, especially if used over the long period of time. It has been found that the high energy impinging liquid jets affect the gums much like too vigorous brushing can, causing the gums to recede and thereby exposing more and more of the tooth structure to decay, and leading ultimately to possible loss of the teeth. In some instances, the liquid jet streams tend to bruise or lacerate the gum tissues to varying degrees. This accounds forthe uncomfortable stinging sensation that is experienced during use of liquid jet devices, and these injuries have been known to lead to other forms of periodontitis or gum diseases.

Many variations of the liquid jet cleansing theory have been introduced over the last several years and these have to some degree by serendipity alleviated the harmful effects outlined above by distributing the jet over a wider area in the mouth. For example, in the Powers U.S. Pat. No. 3,465,751 there is disclosed a concept that inherently minimizes the sustained force of a liquid jet by the water jet implement moving rapidly back and forth utilizing a power toothbrush drive. In the U.S. Pat. to Troy No. 3,487, 828 there is shown the concept of enveloping the high velocity stream with a lower velocity spray around the peripheral edges that effectively tempers the brute force of the impinging liquid. However, each of these improvements has not completely solved the problem of the harmful side effects of the liquid impacting against the gums. And accordingly, insofar as l am aware, the use ofa pulsed liquid jet as a cleansing tool has now become generally unacceptable to dental hygiene experts for what 1 consider very cogent reasons. A fresh new approach to improving the cleansing process, rather than merely making changes in the water jet method is needed.

Furthermore, it has only recently been recognized that plaque, the colorless sticky colonies of mouth bacteria that live on tooth surfaces and around the gum line, is the true or primary offender in the field of oral hygiene. This invisible bacteria combines with sugar in food to produce acids that ultimately lead to decay and cavities in the teeth. The plaque accumulates on the entire tooth surface, but most readily along the gum line, in effect hiding under the fold of skin and when left untreated, the acids can even eventually damage the tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place.

It is now believed by experts that the high velocity jets of liquid proposed in'the prior art teachings set forth above are woefully ineffective to disturb the plaque or bacteria colonies. In short, the liquid in jet streams of any velocity, even exceedingly high velocities, merely bounce off the plaque coated teeth, without appreciably affecting the orientation of the stubbornly clinging bacteria accretions. In fact, it is thought that ironically the hard jet of water more firmly attaches the sticky substance to the teeth. The water jet streams pound the sticky coating against the sides of the teeth, with the result much like the application of adhesive tape by applying pressure to the back or exposed surface of the same. Therefore, for this reason also, a fresh approach to an improved method of cleansing rather than trying to improve the old is called for.

The method now recommended by most dentists to most effectively combat plaque includes, in addition to brushing; (l) gently flossing between the teeth, and (2) gently wiggling relatively soft bristles of a toothbrush along the gum line. This gentle flossing and gum line working, has unquestionably been found to be more effective than methods utilizing the water jet principle. The technique is howeverfa tedious and time consuming one. The flossing must include (1) up and down moving of the dental floss between the teeth, (2) wrapping and back and forth moving the floss partially around the back and front surfaces in both directions, and then (3) final movement upward toward the end of each tooth to remove the floss. The wiggling is next performed, and to be effective and gentle as desired, must be slow and easy, taking pains to make sure that the inner space at the edge of the gum where the most destructive plaque lodges is attacked.

Thus, the new method that I propose should be first, effective against'plaque; secondly, gentle to the teeth and gums; thirdly, pleasant and refreshing to use; and finally, simple so as to free the user as much as possible from the tedious and time consuming nature of the oral hygiene process. The final requirement was not considered by me to be of any lesser importance than the others, since by experience I have seen that finding an improved method for gaining the desired result in the field of oral hygiene'is only afraction of the battle when it comes to having that system work. For the bulk of the battle is getting the patient, who by human nature wants to avoid anything other than the most routine brushing, to put the program in effect and then to stay with it. It is with these four major criteria in mind that l have proceeded to discover and herein propose a new improved system for cleansing teeth and gums.

OBJECTIVES OF THE INVENTION It is thus one major object of the present invention to provide a system for oral hygiene that is effective to remove plaque, as well as foreign food particles, in a more efficient manner, and is at the same time, gentle to the teeth and gums.

It is another object to provide a more efficient system of cleansing teeth and gums that effectively simulates flossing and wiggling," but which requires a bare minimum of extra effort for the patient.

Another object is to provide a cleansing process that provides a cooling, refreshing sensation in the mouth,

disperses dentrifice solution without dilution and aerates and ventilates stagnant areas of the mouth.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a system for cleansing teeth and gums wherein a gas stream, preferably air, is provided in intimate contact with the teeth and gums to gently scrub the sur faces with bubbles to assist in the removal of the plaque and other foreign material.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide an improved method and apparatus for oral cleansing wherein pulses of air are utilized to more efficiently loosen foreign food particles and to scrub the teeth and massage the gums.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method for cleansing teeth and gums and the related apparatus that provides pulses that may be intensified by use of a double seal on the tip of the implement acting against the teeth and gums and/or by tandem pumps operating in phase.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The system of the present invention provides for cleansing of teeth and gums by injecting a gaseous stream into the mouth through an oral implement having its outlet orifice in juxtaposition with said teeth and gums. Preferably, a series of pulses or puffs of air is used and the process is carried out with an oral cleanser in the mouth. The bubbling effect provides intimate, but gentle contact of the aerated cleanser with all surrounding surface areas within the mouth to be cleansed. The bubbles also generate a gentle scrubbing action that has been found to be particularly effective for removal of plaque. To be most effective for this, the

outlet orifice is placed directly in contact with the teeth and gums and the escaping bubbles agitate, loosen and lift the sticky substance from the surface and literally float the bacteria away for easy disposal. A buildup of pressure in the implement may be provided by engaging a dual sealing ring on the implement firmly against the tooth or gum surface whereupon moving the tip element away, such as to span a gap between the teeth, a major or increased force pulse is provided. This and the follow-up continuing series of minor pulses is highly effective to remove foreign matter from between the teeth and around the gum line.

Preferably in the method, the cleanser utilized includes a dentrifice, such as tooth paste, forming a liquid solution with the saliva. The stream of bubbles move the solution between the teeth and under the gums to insure scrubbing in areas that are most often missed. The tip element is also concurrently utilized to gently massage the teeth and gums, also particularly along the gum line, to remove the plaque. The pressure bubbles released from under the tip element, are covered with this solution, further enhancing the loosening and removal process of the sticky bacteria colonies that are attached to the teeth. To put it another way, the solution of dentrifice and/or saliva is trapped within the chamber and as the bubbles are released around the seal, the plaque is lifted and scrubbed from the surface.

The sealing rings of the tip element at the same time may be rubbed across the tooth surface that also aids in dislodging the hold of the sticky plaque. As the plaque dislodges, it is quickly moved in the solution with the dentrifice away from the surface of the teeth and then safely out of the mouth in the usual manner with the solution.

The process of the invention can be utilized effectively in conjunction with a toothbrush. It will be realized that with the use of air, rather than water or another liquid, the dentrifice and saliva solution remains undiluted during the entire cleansing process, which is a highly advantageous feature. The bubbling through the dentrifice is not only effective to purge along the gum line, but additionally provides aeration of stagnant areas and effectively attacks the anerobes, i.e., assists in disabling and removing from the mouth the bacteria that are not compatible with oxygen. Furthermore, when used in conjunction with a brushing action, the gaseous stream or bubbling action tends to more completely distribute or dispense the dentrifice solution for action with the brush.

The frequencyof gas pulses-used in the process is preferably in the range of 10 to 150 cycles per second. The pulsing particularly in this range allows gentle, stimulating compression andvrebound of the gum tissues and flexing of foreign food particles for improved dislodging and removal efficiency. The pulsing also allows higher peak power from a given power source and controls the discomforting cold effect that is experienced if a relatively high energy steady stream is used. More particularly, 60 and 120 pulses per second have been found to give ideal alternatives and these are easily attainablewith an alternating current electrical drive.

In accordance with apparatus features of the present invention, the sealing-means around the operative face of the tip element is important since this provides for the pressure buildup that accentuates the pulsing action and at the same time provides a convenient massaging surface for aiding in dislodging of the plaque and food particles, particularly along the gum line. The dual concentic flexible .rings or rims have sufficient resiliency to effectively seal against the tooth and/or gums; the inner ring being solely effective when the smaller front teeth or incisors are contacted. As the tip element is moved along the teeth and gums, the bubbles escape, providing the scrubbing action described above. When a space between the teeth is uncovered a major pulse or puff of air is released followed by the continuing series of minor pulses that effectively cleans and scrubs between the teeth tostimulate a dental flossing action. The massaging action by the tip element in the region of the gum line is similar to the known wiggling wherein soft bristle brushes are gently but methodically worked in this area. The bubbling and release of the gases from beneath the double seals of the tip element, do a highly efficient job in dislodging and removing the plaque so that a minimum amount of effort and time is then required by the user.

In order to most efficiently provide the air stream in the form of pneumatic pulses or puffs that are adapted to most effectively carry out the desired functions of the present invention, I prefer to use a simple diaphragm pump, such as is commonly used to provide aeration in an aquarium. An oscillating lever attached adjacent its free end to the diaphragm is responsive to turn magnet. I have modified the drive means by providing a rebound spring, in the form of a resilient pad, preferably mounted on the top face of the diaphragm and positioned for engagement by the oscillating lever. This pad absorbs the momentum of the lever as it moves inwardly against the diaphragm and drives the lever outwardly to supplement the resilient action of the diaphragm. On the outward stroke, the resiliency of the top of the diaphragm is effective to cause an adequate rebound of the drive lever. Another modification is the attachment of the diaphragm to the lever at the very end thereof with the drive motor and magnet overlying the diaphragm.

A tandem pump arrangement provides for increased amplitude output or a double frequency depending on the operation of the two units in or out of phase. The effective volume of the implement and transfer tube for pressurization to generate the higher intensity or major pulses may be increased by providing an in-line storage chamber. This chamber is ideally in the implement handle and the interconnecting passage through the implement is also enlarged to provide additional volume and to minimize suppression of the pulses.

Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description, wherein I have shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by me of carrying out my invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different. embodiments, and its several details are capable of modification in various obvious respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptionare to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictrve.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view of the combination apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention and which apparatus is particularly DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference now for more specific description of the method and apparatus of the present invention, reference can be made to FIG. 1 wherein is shown an oral cleansing implement 10 connected through a transfer tube 11 to a suitable pneumatic or air pump unit 12. The free end of the implement 10 is adapted to fit within the mouth of the user and includes a plurality of brush units 13 that are used as a part of the preferred embodiment to assist in cleaning the teeth. A tip element 14 replaces some of the brush units 13 that would appear on a regular toothbrush and the tip element 14 is as shown connected through an enlarged channel 15, chamber 15a and the transfer tube 11 to the pneumatic pump unit 12. It will be recognized as the description progresses, that in accordance with the broadest aspects of the invention, that the tip element 14 may be used as an implement separate from a brush and that while air is the preferred gas to be used for the process that other gases in accordance with particular cases or requirements may be utilized. With regard to the latter point, it is anticipated that any suitable gas shown to adapted for use in the related process, the implement FIG. 2 is a top view of the tip element of the imple-.

ment showing the dual ring or rim seal;

FIG. 2a is a cross sectional view through the tip element of FIG. 2 and showing the element separated from the implement;

FIG. 3 is a top view of teeth being operated on with the tip element in single sealing relationship in accordance with the invention; I

FIG. 3a is atop view of the teeth like FIG. 3, but with the tip element positioned between adjacent teeth;

FIG. 3b is a top view of the teeth also like FIG. 3, but with the tip element now in a double seal relationship;

FIG. 3c is a side view with the tip element in juxtaposition with a tooth and operating along the the gum line;

FIG. 4 is a section taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1 showing the internal operating mechanism of the pump unit;

FIG. 4a is a partial section showing alternative arrangement of the electromagnetic drive motor and connection of the drive lever;

have properties of preventing tooth decay by means of the particular ion reaction with the plaque on the teeth is anticipated as being a definite possibility within the next several years. In this instance, a reservoir containing the gas to be used would merely be connected to the pump unit 12.

The implement 10 in a commercial embodiment would most likely include a replaceable portion 16 of a composite handle. A base portion 17 of the handle connects to the replaceable portion 16 through appropriate screw threads 18. A seal 19 on the base portion 17 assures against leakage of the gas being pumped.

The channel 15 is designed in a specific manner to allow maximum pressurized air output from the tip element l4. Specifically, the channel 15 is enlarged along its entire length sufficient to minimize the tendency for the working air to be suppressed or choked during its travel there along. This is also particularly important in thepreferred mode of use where intensified pressure pulses of air are intennittently supplied. That is, the enlarged volume allows storage of a higher intensity puff of compressed air when the tip element is periodically sealed whereby upon release an improved scrubbing and disloding action occurs. The specific size of the channel 15 and the transfer tube 11 is of course dependent upon the capacity of the pump unit 12 and the parameters of air volume, pressure and density. Suffice it to say that with the enlarged channel 15 and chamber 1511, the pulses can move to the tip element 14 without being squeezed or attenuated into a steady flow state and intermittent major pulses are capable of being produced.

The design of the tip element 14 is a critical feature of the apparatus of the present invention. The showing of this element is supplemented by FIGS. 2 and 2a of the drawings. The functional face is characterized by a pair-of concentric resilient sealing rings or rims 25, 26. It will be noted that the outer rim 25 is slightly higher than the inner rim 26 (FIG. 2a) so that it is the first engaged when said tip 14 is placed into face-to-face contact or in juxtaposition with a surface. The channel extends through amounting nipple 27 that is permanently attached to the end of the implement 10 (see FIG. 1). The nipple 27 has a passageway 28 extending therethrough and at the upper end thereof a shoulder 29 that serves as a holding means for the element l4. As best shown in FIG. 2a, the nipple 27 is adapted to fit within the formed cavity 30. The tip element having a body 31 formed of a resilient material, such as rubber, allows the element 14 to be removed easily by merely deforming the same until the shoulder 29 can move through the cavity 30. This makes the tip element 14 replaceable, and thus, tip elements of different sizes and configuratons may be selected as best suits users needs. I

The passageway28 aligns with an outlet orifice 35 in the tip element 14. Through this orifice 35, the pressurthe . ized air passes and is directed against the teeth andgum surfaces. The sealing rim 26 is effective to form an inner chamber 36 (see FIG. 2a) and the outer rim is effective to form a concentric and outer chamber 37. The pressure built up in these chambers 36, 37 play an important role in the method or process ofcleansing teeth that is envisioned by the present invention, and as will'now be explained.

In operation, the user of the implement 10 of the present invention applies a suitable dentrifice, such as tooth paste shown by the dashed line outline 39 of FIG. 1. The tooth paste is positioned in the mouth and initially distributed, as is common practice. The tooth paste is preferably initially mixed into a liquid solution with the saliva in the mouth of the user. The pump unit 12 is then activated and provides a plurality of continuous pulses from the orifice in the tip element 14. The actual brushing and cleasing operation utilizing the pulsed air technique may start at the front of the mouth on. a incisor or bicuspid T as shown in FIG. 3.. On this tooth, its small surface area is at least effective to seal the orifice 35, and thus the chamber 36 by the inner rim 26. As the toothbrush implement 10 is moved up and down and is progressively moved toward the adjacent teeth, air will escape from the chamber 36 in the form of bubbles through the liquid solution that has been formed whereby the air and solution are brought into intimate but gentle contact with all of the surrounding area. These bubbles serve to disperse the solution so as to afford the bristles 13 a better working relationship as they engage the adjacent tooth, such as the tooth T also shown, in FIG. 3. Instead of providing a hard blast of liquid that tends to actually stick the plaque harder against the teeth, the bubbles gently scrub and lift the colonies of bacteria and suspend them in the solution for removal when the user releases the solution from the mouth.

The rim 26 is made of resilient material so that providing sufficient pressure against the free end of the implement 10 will eventually form a complete seal. When the seal is formed, the pressure will build up in the chamber 36, channel 15, the in-line chamber 150, the. tube 11 and within the pumps 40, 41 of the pump unit 12. Upon the'trapped air being released, such as when 8 moving between two teeth as shown in FIG. 3a, an intensified pulse or puff of air will be provided. The puff of air takes with it the cleansing solution and assists in removing the plaque from between the teeth and also removing any food particles that might be clinging in this crevice. Immediately after the major puff, the pulsing of the pump 12 is again renewed and a series of minor pulses or puffs is directed between the teeth. It will be remembered that during this whole time, the pulses of air are bubbling in the solution and serve to not only remove the plaque and food particles but also to aerate the teeth and gums. The bristles l3 come along the path after (or before depending on the direction vof travel) and finish the cleansing operation in the normal manner.

As the tip element is moved to the back molars, such as molar T shown in FIG. 3b, it is possible to obtain a double seal with the resilient rims 25, 26 thereby giving assurance of storage of the large volume of highly pressurized air before bubbles are released for the scrubbing action to remove'the plaque. Furthermore, as before, when the seal is-released by spanning the space between teeth by movement of the element 14 from the molar T the advantageous scrubbing and clearing action occurs, again similar to flossing action, as mentioned above.

The entire mouth is cleaned utilizing this technique. The tip element 14 is utilized throughout the operation to resiliently massage the teeth and gums. This massaging action is a relatively gentle movement over the teeth and gums and may assume a typical predominant up and down stroke that is recommended for brushing.

plement is adjacent the free end of the body. Both the inner rim 26 and the outer rim 25 are effective to form a double seal and form rubbing surfaces to aid in the scrubbing action of the bubbles, as explained above.

Another paricularly important use of the tip element 14 is to engage the sides of the tooth, such as tooth T in FIG. 30, such that the outer rim 25 extends down into the crevice formed by the slight overlap or fold of the gum G, that is to say, at the gum line. The outer rim 25 serves to gently open up this area, as shown in FIG. 3, and the purging bubbles then dislodge and remove the plaque. This operation is similar to the wiggling action in the conventional brushing technique previ ously described. However, with the bubbles of my new process carrying the cleansing solution down into the crevice and then back up, the plaque is more efficiently removed, with less chance of irritation of this sensitive gum area and with much less time and effort and tedious brush movement being required.

The construction of an efficient pump unit 12 for the specific application to my pneumatictoothbrush is important and the preferred embodiment can be best seen in FIG. 4. In this figure, there is shown a tandem arrangement of pumps, generally designated by the reference numerals 40, 41. The pumps 40, 41 comprise a substantially rigid cup portion 42, 43, respectively, and have a resilient diaphragm 44, 45 positioned over the top of said cups. Respective intakes 46, 47 provide an input of air and immediately behind the intake is a check valve wafer, not shown, to permit the usual pumping action as the top of thediaphragms 44, 45 are moved in and out. The outputs for the pumps 40, 41 are through delivery lines 48, 49 that are joined by a dual check valve 50 to output tube 51. The transfer tube 11 is of course attached to the air outlet 52.

The pumps 40, 41 are thus connected in tandem to provide an output through the transfer tube 11 that is a composite signal. More about the particular pattern of pulses will be seen in regard to the discussion of FIGS. and 5a that will follow.

The housing H may be of a conventional design with brackets 59 to hold the oscillatable drive levers 60,61. At the free end of each of the levers is magnetic block 62, 63 that is attracted alternately by the electromagnets 64, 65 and the permanent magnets 66, 67, respectively, that are positioned opposite thereto.

The electromagnets are connected to the alternating voltage source 70 (see FIG. 4) through suitable interconnections including selector button 71 for on-off and phase selection switch 72. The magnet couples 64, 66 and 65, 77 may be axially adjusted toward and away from the blocks 62, 63 in order to gain and maintain the proper spacing for optimum operation. This is done by the base of the electromagnet motors and the permanent magnet being tapped to receive a jackscrew 73 with a leaf compression spring 74 being provided to hold the couple in the proper adjusted position.

Rebound spring means or pads 75, 76 are conveniently mounted as an integral part of the top of the resilient diaphragms 44, 45. These rebound spring means absorb the energy of the levers 60, 6.1 as they are moving toward the respective diaphragms 44, 45 and utilize that stored energy for enhanced return of the levers in the opposite direction. It has been found that this provides an increased amplitude of the stroke of the pumps 40, 41. With the increased amplitude comes greater output air volume and pressure, which in turn provides for a more efficientcleansing of the teeth with the apparatus. Clearly other forms of rebound springs, such as a resilient band stretched between the levers 60, 61 are contemplated within the broad aspects of the inven tion.

The electromagnetic drive means may, if desired, be turned completely around as shown in FIG. 4a so that the'permanent magnet 67a is adjacent to and overlying the diaphragm 45a, as shown in FIG. 4a. With thisarrangement, the space within the housing H is conserved, and also by consequence of this modification, the lever 61a is operated with maximum leverage. In this embodiment there is also a change in that the bumper element may be positioned along the opposite side of the rim of the pump (see FIG. 4a).

A typical wiring diagram for the tandem pump unit of FIG. 4 is shown in FIG. 412. Here a voltage source 70 is connected through input lines 80, 81 to the electromagnet or electromagnetic motor 64. The motor 65 is connected in parallel with the motor 64 by transfer lines 82, 83 with the on-off switch 71 positioned to operate both. The phase selection switch 72 is a double pole double throw switch that allows connection of the motor 65 in phase or out of phase with respect to the motor 64. In other words, assuming the same direction winding of the coil of the motors, when the switch 72 is in the lefthand position (as viewed in FIG. 4b) the connecting lines 90, 91 correspond to the input lines 80, 81 and thus operate the motor 65 in the same phase as the motor 64 from the alternating current voltage source 70. On the other hand, when the switch 72 is positioned to the right in FIG. 4b, then the lines 92, 93 are switched in and are connected to input lines 81, 80 respectively, and thereby throw the motor 65 out of phase with the motor 64.

' Assuming a standard alternating current of cycles per second, the output of the tandem pumps 40, 41 is shown in FIG. 5 when the motors 64, are operating in phase. The output of the first motor 64 is designated by the wave line 95 and the total output is designated by the wave line 96 with the shaded area thus representing the output of the second motor 65. In this mode of operation, the output of the diaphragm pumps 40, 41 is being transmitted through the lines 48, 49 concurrently, and the pulses combine in the valve 50 and the rectified wave 95a96a. This mode of operation is preferred by some users and can be more effective in situations where less force and substantially continuous bubbling through the solution is desired.

Other frequencies, preferably within the range of approximately 10 to cycles per second can be used. To either side of this range, the flow is not as desirable since the cold factor caused by sustained flow enters the picture. Furthermore, the natural rebound of the gum tissues and the loosening of foreign foodparticles has been found to be more efficient in this range.

In summary, the inventive concept of the system disclosed in this application is the enhancement of the cleansing process of the teeth and gums by introducing a gas stream through the outlet orifice of an implement 10 that is positioned in juxtaposition to the teeth and gums for bubble scrubbing action of plaque and foreign food particle removal. An oral cleanser introduced into the mouth and forming a liquid solution with the saliva is preferably used which is brought into intimate contact with all surrounding areas in the mouth to further enhance the cleansing method. The gas is preferably air and is introduced in pulses and through a novel double seal tip element 14. Buildup of pressure in the apparatus when a seal is formed at the rims 25, 26 of the element allows periodic ejection of higher pressure, major pulses, with the continuous pulsing occurring during the remainder of the time. The introduction of the pressurized gas has been surprisingly found to be highly effective against removal of plaque on the teeth and along the gum line. The tip element is adapted to massage the contacted areas within the mouth to further encourage loosening of foreign matter. The pump unit 12 has been modified to gain maximum amplitude through provision of a rebound spring means 75, 76. The electromagnetic motors are selectively connected in phase or out of phase to give the desired pulsing amplitude and frequency.

In this disclosure, there is shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, but as aforementioned, it is to be understood that the invention is capable of use in various other combinations and environment and is capable of changes or modifical l tions within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed herein.

I claim:

I. The method of cleansing teeth and gums compris ing the steps of introducing an oral cleanser into the mouth and forming a liquid solution with the saliva, pressurizing a gas, and placing an implement with the outlet orifice and confining chamber in juxtaposition with the teeth and gums, ejecting a defined stream of said gas from the orifice into the confining chamber, sealing said chamber against at least one of said teeth and gums sufficiently to allow a gaseous pressure buildup in said chamber, causing the pressurized gas to be released around the periphery of the chamber with bubbling action through said solution so as to bring the gas and solution into intimate but gentle contact with all surrounding areas for scrubbing action.

2. The method of claim lwherein the gas is air to provide aeration of the solution.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the cleanser introduced .is a dentrifice.

4. The'method of claim 3 wherein the dentrifice is tooth paste.

5.The method of claim 1 wherein the teeth and gums are massaged by a resilient tip on the implement forming said chamber during cleansing in the area of gas release.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein the gas is introduced into said chamber and against the teeth and gums in pulses to assure against discomfort and to loosen foreign material more efficiently.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the gas is pulsed by periodically releasing the pressure buildup by momentarily moving said chamber away from said teeth and gums to break the seal and then reapplying the chamber, whereby to assure against discomfort and to loosen foreign material more efficiently.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the pressurized gas is provided with additional minor pulses during both the period of sealing and release of the seal for continuous pulsing effect.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein the chamber is directed to provide purging bubbles under the gums.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein the teeth and gums are brushed during the gasification process, said liquid solution being dispersed by release of gas bubbles to circulate said liquid for optimum use during the brushing action.

11. The method of cleansing teeth and gums with a solution in the mouth comprising the steps of intermittent pressurizing a gas to produce a series of pulses, injecting the gas pulses through an orifice in an implement positioned in the mouth and into a confining chamber, positioning the chamber of the implement in juxtaposition to the teeth and gums, sealing said chamber against at least one of said teeth and gums sufficiently to allow a gaseous pressure buildup in said chamber, causing the pressurized gas to be released around the periphery of the chamber with bubbling action through said solution so as to bring the gas and solution into intimate but gentle contact with all surrounding areas for scrubbing action.

12. The method of cleansing teeth and gums of claim 11 wherein the gas is additionally double pulsed by periodicallysealing the outlet orifice against the teeth and gums sufficiently against said pulses to permit buildup g 12 I of pressure in the implement and then releasing the seal to still more effectively loosen foreign material.

13. The method of cleansing teeth and gums with a solution in the mouth comprising the steps of intermittent pressurizing a gas to produce a series of pulses, injecting the gas pulses through an implement positioned in the mouth, positioning the outlet orifice of the implement in juxtaposition to the teeth and gums to provide intimate but gentle contact to all areas and to loosen foreign matter more effectively, the frequency of said pulses being approximately 60 cycles per second.

14. The method of cleansing teeth and gums with a solution in the mouth comprising the steps of intermittent pressurizing a gas to produce a series of pulses, injecting the gas pulses through an implement positioned in the mouth, positioning the outlet orifice of the implement in juxtaposition to the teeth and gums'to provide intimate but gentle contact to all areas and to loosen foreign matter more effectively, the frequency of said pulses being approximately cycles per second.

15. A teeth and gums cleansing apparatus for use in the mouth with a liquid therein comprising a gas pump, an injection implement having a tip element to be positoned within the mouth, orifice means in said tip element for ejecting a defined stream of gas, a transfer tube connecting said pump and said implement for supply of gas and sealing means outwardly of said orifice means forming a chamber sealed against at least one of said teeth and gums sufficiently to allow buildup of pressure within said pump, tube and implement,

whereby release of the pressurized gas causes scrubbing action around .theperiphery of said chamber through escaping bubbles moving through the surrounding liquid within the mouth and dislodging of foreign material.

16. A teeth and gums cleansing apparatus comprising a gas pump, an injection implement having a tip element that may be positioned within the mouth, orifice means in said tip element for ejecting a defined stream of gas, a transfer tube connecting said pump and said implement for supply of gas and sealing means to seal off said orifice means against said teeth and gums sufficiently to allow buildup of pressure within said pump, tube and implement, said sealing means including dual concentric flexible rims having sufficient resiliency to effectively seal against the teeth and gums to provide said buildup of pressure, whereby upon release of the seal a stream of gas is ejected for scrubbing action by the escaping bubbles, dispersion of surrounding liquid within the mouth and dislodging of foreign material.

17. The teeth and gums cleansing apparatus of claim 16 wherein the inner rim is shorter than the outer rim in order to allow said outer rim to seal first when positioned against the teeth and gums.

18. The teeth and gums cleansing apparatus of claim 15 wherein said pump includes pulsing means for providing a plurality of pulses in saidchamber.

19. The teeth and gums cleansing apparatus of claim 18 wherein said pulsing means of said pump includes a diaphragm, and reciprocating drive means for said diaphragm.

20. A teeth and gums cleansing apparatus comprising a gas pump, an injection implement having a tip element that may be positioned within the mouth, orifice means in said tip element for ejecting a defined stream of gas, a transfer tube connecting said pump and said implement for supply of gas and sealing means to seal v 13 off said orifice-means against said teeth and gums sufficiently to allow buildup of pressure within said pump, tube and implement, whereby upon release of the seal a stream of gas is ejected for scrubbing action by the escaping bubbles, dispersion of surrounding liquid within the mouth and dislodging of foreign material, said pump including pulsing means for providing a plurality of pulses in said stream, said pulsing means of said pump including a diaphragm, and reciprocating drive means for said diaphragm, said drive means including an oscillating lever, the free end attached to said diaphragm to drive the same and said free end having magnetic means, an alternating current drive magnet on one side of the free end of said lever and a permanent return magnet on the other, and an alternating current source to intermittently activate said drive magnet.

21. The teeth and gums cleansing apparatus of claim wherein said drive means is positioned so as to overly one side of the top of said diaphragm to conserve space and to obtain maximum leverage of said lever.

22. A teeth and gums cleansing apparatus comprising a gas pump, an injection implement having a tip element that may be positioned within the mouth, orifice means in said tip element for ejecting a defined stream of gas, a transfer tube connecting said pump and said implement for supply of gas and sealing means to seal off said orifice means against said teeth and gums sufficiently to allow buildup of pressure within said pump, tube and implement, whereby upon release of the seal a stream of gas is ejected for scrubbing action by the escaping bubbles, dispersion of surrounding liquid within the mouth and dislodging of foreign material, said pump including pulsing means for providing a plurality of pulses in said stream, said pulsing means of said pump including a diaphragm, reciprocating drive means for said diaphragm including an oscillating lever and rebound spring means for engaging said lever, thereby absorbing energy for greater return of the same for increased amplitude.

23. The teeth and gums cleansing apparatus of claim 22 wherein said oscillating lever includes a free end attached to said diahargm to drive the same, said free end having magnetic means, an alternating current drive magnet on one side of the free end of said lever and a permanent return magnet on the other, and an alternating current source to intermittently activate said drive magnet, said spring means being a resilient pad mounted on the top supported portion of said diaphragm to be engaged by the overlying portion of said lever.

24. A teeth and gums cleansing apparatus comprising a gas pump, an injection implement having a tip element that may be positioned within the mouth, orifice means in said tip element for ejecting a defined stream of gas, a transfer tube connecting said pump and said implement for supply of gas and sealing means to seal off said orifice means against said teeth and gums sufficiently to allow buildup of pressure within said pump, tube and implement, whereby upon release of the seal a stream of gas is ejected for scrubbing action by the escaping bubbles, dispersion of surrounding liquid within the mouth and dislodging of foreign material, said pump including pulsing means for providing a plurality of pulses in said stream, said pulsing means of said pump including a diaphragm, and reciprocating drive means for said diaphragm, a second diaphragm and drive means connected in tandem with the first mentioned ones having a common output passage, and switch means for operating said first and second drive means in phase or out of phase to obtain increased or decreased pulse output, respectively.

25 The teeth and gums cleansing apparatus of claim 15 wherein said pump includes pulsing means operating within the range of approximately 10 to 150 cycles per second for providing a plurality of pulses in said stream.

26. The method of cleaning teeth and gums of claim 1 wherein is further provided the step of passing and releasing the gas through and from an additional concentric chamber for more effective scrubbing action.

27. The teeth and gums cleansing apparatus of claim 15 wherein said pump includes pulsing means operating at approximately 60 cycles per second for providing a plurality of pulses.

28. The teeth and gums cleansing apparauts of claim 15 wherein said pump includes pulsing means operating at approximately cycles per second for providing a plurality of pulses.

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Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis433/216, 601/162
Classification internationaleA46B11/06
Classification coopérativeA46B11/063, A46B2200/1066
Classification européenneA46B11/06B