FlossGrip: description of the invention
The invention relates to a device for improving the cleaning of interdental spaces by means of a thread, commonly referred to as dental floss, the device having a single handle and two prongs connected, at one end, to the handle and in which the dental floss extends tightly between the ends opposite the handle.
Dental floss devices have been marketed in the United States under the trademark "FLOSSAID", under the trademark "FLOSSMATE" as marketed by John O. Butler Co. of chicago, and in a design (see U.S. Pat. No. Des. 216,545) marketed under the trademark "E-Z FLOSS" by E-Z FLOSS of Palm Springs.
The two first-named devices are charged in the same manner: a button-shaped head is fitted to the holder. The leading end of the dental floss has to be wound several times around this head and then installed in a groove along the length of the first prong. The dental floss leaves the prong at its end and joins the end of the other prong. The dental floss has to follow again a groove along this latter prong up to the starting button around which it has to be wound, finally, several times.
The "E-Z FLOSS" flosser differs from the two first mentioned designs by the fact that its holder has two heads; one for winding the leading end of the dental floss, the other for winding the trailing end of the dental floss. Furthermore, the end of this holder features a narrow groove and the dental floss is secured by combining the windings around the heads with insertions in this groove.
With all three of the aforementioned devices, tensioning of the dental floss is achieved by holding the prongs close together while the dental floss is being installed. These flossers require an expenditure of a considerable length of dental floss for each use, only a small section of which will actually pass between the teeth, Furthermore, since a considerable length of dental floss is under tension, the dental floss stretches significantly and, therefore, becomes slack. With the two first-named flossers, the tread sometimes gets out of its groove and gets loose from the ends of the prongs.
Other types of dental floss applicators have been disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,623,231, 2,650,598, 3,871,393 and 3,393,687, and British Pat. No. 525,528. Such arrangements do not disclose a subject the structure or advantages achieved by the structure of the present invention.
The purpose of this invention is to remedy know drawbacks by providing a flosser that consumes only a small amount of dental floss, in which the dental floss cannot get loose from the ends of the prongs, and which remain tight permanently, by means of a simple method of attachment.
An advantage of this invention is that a flosser allows cleaning of interdental spaces effectively as the dental floss remains tight an solidly secured regardless or the position in which the holder is held. Moreover, the wasteful consumption of the is reduced significantly, Furthermore, the method of loading the dental floss onto the holder is quite simple.
Thus, in accordance with the invention, a flosser is provided for improved cleaning of interdental spaces. The holder includes an elongated handle and a pair of opposed curved prongs. Each prong has a first and flexibly mounted to the handle for movement toward the other. Each prong also has a second free end. Protrusions are formed on inside surface of at least one of the prongs to limit the extent of which the prongs can be moved to each other. Preferably, protrusions are formed on each of the prongs, Upon movement of the prongs toward each other, the protrusions will eventually contact and preclude further movement of the prongs towards each other. A dental floss having a length extended between, and in attachment with, the prongs is provided proximate to the free ends. Gripping means for locking the dental floss in place at the attachment to the prongs is also provided.
The gripping means, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, includes a lit in each prong extending lengthwise from the free end of the prong toward the first end (i.e. attached to the handle) over a length sufficient to form flexible jaws on each side of the slit. Additionally, each prong is provided with a groove that extends about the periphery of the prong, laterally of the slit, proximate of the free end. A length of dental floss is extended in the slit and a winding of the dental floss, attached to the aforementioned length, is provided in the groove to form the attachment of the dental floss to the free end of each prong.
In accordance with still another preferred feature of the invention, each slit extends at an angle approximately perpendicular to the length of the dental floss extended between the prongs. The jaws are preferably extended towards each other at the free end so that the slit comprises a triangularly tapered cross-section adjacent to free end. Additionally, the surfaces of the jaws adjacent to the slit and the groove are preferably roughened with a series of surface indentations and projections in order to improve the adhesion of the dental floss to the jaws.
The slit provided in the prongs has a length sufficient to insure that the slightest pressure applied to the two jaws will close them together over the dental floss. In the preferred arrangement, the groove is located about 3 mm from the end of each prong and the overall structure is dimensioned so that the length of dental floss required to engage the groove and the slit and to extend between the prongs is approximately 12 cm. The prongs are pressed together in order to load the dental floss. When released, the prongs tends to resume their normal open position and stretch and tighten the dental floss around in the grooves at the end of the prongs. This, in turn, firmly closes the slit and locks the dental floss in place. This locking effect is enhanced by the pressure on the dental floss during the cleaning of the interdental spaces. Other advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon studying of the accompanying specification and drawing.
In the accompanying drawing, forming a part of this specification, and in which reference numerals shown in the several views designate like of corresponding parts throughout the same,
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a flosser made in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged front perspective view of a portion of the flosser of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view, partly broken away, of the portion of flosser shown in FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 through 7 pictorially illustrate a sequence of the steps utilized in loading a floss onto the flosser of FIG. 1.
As shown in FIG. 1, a flosser made in conformity with this invention comprises a furcated device with an elongated handle 1 and two prongs 2 flexibly mounted to one end of the handle. The arcuate prongs 2 are fitted with protrusions 3. Each of the prongs 2, at its end opposite the handle 1, is slit down its middle lengthwise by a slit 4, to form pincers, over length sufficient to ensure flexibility so that application of the slightest pressure to the opposed sides 5, 6 of the pincer adjacent the slit 4 will cause the sides to press together.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each slitted prong preferably is constructed to form a pincer about 12 mm long and the ends 7, 8 of the prong, about 3 mm long, will form the jaws of the pincer. Each of the two pincers is provided with a groove 9 which extends laterally relative to the slit 4 around the periphery of each prong about 3 mm from the end opposite the handle.
FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate an enlarged view of part of the end of one prong. FIG. 3 also illustrates the manner in which the dental floss is arranged at the end of a prong.
In operation, a user will need about 10 to 12 cm of dental floss to load the device. This length can be measured by means of markings on the handle of the holder or by color marks on the dental floss itself.
As shown in FIG. 4, the user winds the leading end of the dental floss 10 around the groove 9 at the end of prong 2 about three times. The user then inserts floss into the slit between the jaws (see FIG. 5). As shown in FIG. 6, while keeping the prongs tightly together until protrusions 3 abut, the user winds the dental floss thrice around in groove 9 at the end of the second prong. Before releasing the prongs, as best shown in FIG. 7, the user passes the end of the dental floss into the slit between jaws 7, 8 of the second prong.
Each set of semi-prongs 5, 6 is self-locking. When the user releases the prongs, after having loaded the device as described above, the prongs tend to resume their normal open position and thus stretch the dental floss, which tightens the windings in the grooves 9 and thus locks the jaws 7, 8 of each prong onto the dental floss. Any pull on the dental floss while cleaning the interdental spaces will increase the grip even more. The slit in each prong is approximately perpendicular to the tightened floss. Thus, the slipping of the dental floss is prevented by the increased gripping effect, which arises by virtue of its being held in al plane approximately perpendicular to the pull. The movement of the jaws 7? 8, in a direction parallel to the pull of the dental floss, enhances the gripping effect, particularly while the device is in use. Finally, the dental floss is also locked into position by the groove itself, which is at a right angle to the slit, For the purpose of inserting the dental floss into the jaws 7, 8 the user will have to pull the dental floss in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the winding in the groove 9.
The sides 12, 13 of the jaws 7, 8 are triangularly tapered, relative to the slit, in a manner that allows the dental floss to slide easily between the jaws 7, 8 after having been wound in the groove 9. The adherence of the dental floss can be increased by roughening the surface areas of the jaws 7, 8 adjacent the slit 6 and groove 9. The surface areas, for example, are covered with small projection or dots as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.
1. Device for improved cleaning of interdental spaces with a dental floss, composed of an elongated handle (1) and a pair of opposed curved prongs (2) in offset from the plane of the handle, each prong (2) having a first end mounted to the handle and having the second end free, these prongs being flexible for movement towards each other, gripping means being realized by a slit (4) dividing each end of prong into two parts (5, 6) and extending lengthwise from the free end of the prong towards the first end, and a dental floss (10) having a first part being extended between the prongs, near the free ends, and a second part utilized to fix the first one, characterized in that protrusion means (3) are mounted on at least one of the prongs to limit the movement towards each other, and in that the slit (4) extend lengthwise towards the handle, beyond the place where the dental floss is gripped on the prong, over a length sufficient to form, by the flexibility of each part (5 and 6) situated on opposite sides of the slit (4), the gripping means that will maintain the dental floss firmly in place by a increased gripping effect, enhanced by the pressure on the dental floss during use.
2. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that the slit (4) is in a plane approximately perpendicular to the part of the dental floss extended between the prongs, in that a groove (9) extends around the periphery of each prong, on the two parts (5 and 6) forming each side of the slit (4), in proximity to the free end of the prong, and in that the second part of the dental floss used to fix the part of dental floss extended between the prongs, comprises a winding in the peripheral groove (9) and a segment between the jaws (7 and 8).
3. Device according to claim 2, characterized in that the jaws (7 and 8) are situated at the free end of the prong and the edges (12 and 13) adjacent the free end are triangularly tapered, so that the distance between these edges decreases from the groove (9) to the end of the prong.
4. Device according to claim 2, characterized in that the surface areas of the jaws (7 and 8) that will grip the dental floss, and the surface areas of the grooves (9) are rough surface areas, whereby the adhesion of the dental floss to these surface areas is improved.