(19)
(11)EP 3 174 429 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
03.08.2022 Bulletin 2022/31

(21)Application number: 14756212.8

(22)Date of filing:  18.08.2014
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A46B 11/00(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
A46B 11/002; A46B 11/0058; A46B 2200/1066; B05B 11/3032; B05B 11/3069
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2014/051481
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/028258 (25.02.2016 Gazette  2016/08)

(54)

ORAL CARE IMPLEMENT

MUNDPFLEGEVORRICHTUNG

ACCESSOIRE POUR SOINS BUCCO-DENTAIRES


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
07.06.2017 Bulletin 2017/23

(73)Proprietor: Colgate-Palmolive Company
New York, NY 10022 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • WU, Donghui
    Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807 (US)
  • LEE, David Kyung Min
    East Brunswick, New Jersey 08816 (US)

(74)Representative: Schicker, Silvia et al
Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff Patentanwälte PartG mbB Schweigerstraße 2
81541 München
81541 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
CN-U- 203 137 444
US-A1- 2011 070 016
US-A1- 2010 284 726
US-A1- 2012 301 209
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] The present invention relates to oral care implements, such as toothbrushes, having a pump for pumping an oral care fluid to a fluid outlet.

    [0002] It is known to provide an oral care implement, such as a toothbrush, with a reservoir storing an oral care fluid and a pump for feeding the fluid to a fluid outlet, such as at a head of the implement, for instance from the documents US2011/0070016A1, US2012/0301209A1, US2010/284726A1 or CN203137444U. One such known oral care implement has a diaphragm pump for pumping oral care fluid from a reservoir to a fluid outlet, which diaphragm pump has a pair of flap valves controlling fluid flow through a chamber of variable volume between the flap valves. The material from which flap valves are made can deteriorate over time, particularly if subjected to high temperatures, leading to poor operation or failure of the valves. Another such known oral care implement has a pump device comprising two valves, each comprising a movable, unattached spherical valve member. However, the spherical valve members would not reliably control fluid flow through the valves.

    [0003] There is a need for an oral care implement, such as a toothbrush, with a more robust and more reliable pump mechanism for pumping oral care fluid from a reservoir towards a fluid outlet.

    BRIEF SUMMARY



    [0004] The present invention provides an oral care implement, comprising: a body comprising a handle, a head at an end of the handle, and at least one fluid outlet, the head having at least one oral care element extending therefrom; a reservoir, in the body, for storing an oral care fluid; and a pump for pumping the oral care fluid from the reservoir towards the fluid outlet, wherein the pump comprises a first check valve downstream of the reservoir, and a second check valve downstream of the first check valve and upstream of the fluid outlet; wherein one of the first and second check valves comprises a valve seat defining an opening through which the oral care fluid is flowable, a valve member separate from the valve seat and comprising a stopper movable linearly relative to the valve seat, and a resilient element biasing the stopper towards the valve seat to restrict fluid flow through the opening, wherein one of the first and second check valves comprises a casing within which the stopper and the resilient element are located, the casing being located within the body and non-unitary with the body.

    [0005] Preferred embodiments are recited in the dependent claims.

    [0006] Optionally, the resilient element is unitary with the valve member, or the resilient element is separate from the valve member.

    [0007] Optionally, the valve member is separate from the valve seat.

    [0008] The stopper is movable linearly relative to the valve seat.

    [0009] Optionally, the valve member comprises a stem extending from the stopper and movably located in the opening. Further optionally, the stem is unitary with the stopper.

    [0010] Optionally, the stopper is resilient and/or flexible.

    [0011] Optionally, the stopper comprises a plug for plugging the opening.

    [0012] Optionally, the valve seat and a perimeter of the stopper are of the same shape.

    [0013] Optionally, one or each of the valve seat and a perimeter of the stopper is circular.

    [0014] Optionally, the resilient element comprises a compression spring.

    [0015] Optionally, the resilient element comprises a helical spring.

    [0016] Optionally, the valve seat is defined by a surface of the body.

    [0017] According to the invention, one of the first and second check valves comprises a casing within which the stopper and resilient element are located, the casing being non-unitary with the body.

    [0018] Optionally, an end of the resilient element abuts a surface of the casing. Further optionally, the surface of the casing is in a recess in the casing.

    [0019] Optionally, the valve seat is defined by the casing.

    [0020] According to the invention, the casing is non-unitary with the body and is located within the body.

    [0021] Optionally, the casing comprises a first casing part and a second casing part attached to the first casing part so as to encase the stopper and the resilient element in the casing. Further optionally, the first casing part defines the valve seat and an end of the resilient element abuts a surface of the second casing part.

    [0022] Optionally, the pump comprises a chamber of variable volume downstream of the first check valve and upstream of the second check valve.

    [0023] Optionally, the pump comprises a diaphragm pump.

    [0024] Optionally, the oral care implement comprises a thumb grip surface on the handle, and the thumb grip surface is movable relative to the body to cause operation of the pump. Further optionally, the pump comprises a diaphragm pump, and the thumb grip surface is operably connected to a movable diaphragm, or the thumb grip surface is a surface of a movable diaphragm.

    [0025] Optionally, the other of the first and second check valves comprises a second valve seat defining a second opening through which the oral care fluid is flowable, a second valve member comprising a second stopper, and a second resilient element biasing the second stopper towards the second valve seat to restrict fluid flow through the second opening. Further optionally, the one of the first and second check valves is the first check valve, the other of the first and second check valves is the second check valve, and a spring constant of the resilient element of the first check valve is less than a spring constant of the second resilient element of the second check valve.

    [0026] Optionally, the second valve member is separate from the second valve seat.

    [0027] Optionally, the second stopper is movable linearly relative to the second valve seat.

    [0028] Optionally, the second stopper has a free edge along a full perimeter of the second stopper.

    [0029] Optionally, a spring constant of the resilient element of the first check valve is at least 10 N/m; optionally at least 25 N/m; further optionally at least 50 N/m; further optionally at least 75 N/m; still further optionally at least 100 N/m.

    [0030] Optionally, the oral care fluid is stored in the reservoir.

    [0031] Optionally, the reservoir is in the handle.

    [0032] Optionally, the reservoir is comprised in the body and forms a portion, or all, of the handle.

    [0033] Optionally, the reservoir is detachably connected to the body.

    [0034] Optionally, the reservoir is transparent or translucent.

    [0035] Optionally, the oral care fluid comprises one or more oral care agents selected from the group consisting of: antibacterial agents; oxidative or whitening agents; enamel strengthening or repair agents; tooth erosion preventing agents; tooth anti-sensitivity ingredients; gum health actives; nutritional ingredients; tartar control or anti-stain ingredients; enzymes; sensate ingredients; caries or plaque disclosing agents; flavors or flavor ingredients; breath freshening ingredients; oral malodor reducing agents; anti-attachment agents or sealants; diagnostic solutions; occluding agents, dry mouth relief ingredients; catalysts to enhance the activity of any of these agents; colorants or aesthetic ingredients; and combinations thereof.

    [0036] Optionally, the oral care implement comprises a toothbrush.

    [0037] Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0038] The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

    Figure 1 shows a perspective view of an oral care implement according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

    Figure 2 shows a schematic diagram of the oral care implement of Figure 1;

    Figure 3 shows an exploded view of components of the pump of the oral care implement of Figure 1;

    Figures 4 and 5 show exploded views of components of the first check valve of the pump of the oral care implement of Figure 1;

    Figure 6 shows the first check valve of Figures 4 and 5 when assembled; and

    Figure 7 shows a cross section view of an oral care implement according to another exemplary embodiment which does not form part of the present invention.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0039] The following description of the preferred embodiment(s) is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

    [0040] As used throughout, ranges are used as shorthand for describing each and every value that is within the range. Any value within the range can be selected as the terminus of the range.

    [0041] In the following description, each of the exemplary embodiments of the oral care implement of the invention comprises a manually-operated oral care implement, more specifically a manually-operated toothbrush. However, in variations to these embodiments, the oral care implement could instead comprise a powered oral care implement, such as a powered toothbrush, wherein one or more oral care elements provided to the head of the implement are drivable so as to be moved relative to the handle of the implement. In still further embodiments, the oral care implement could instead comprise other forms of oral care implement, such as a soft-tissue cleaner, a tooth polisher, an interdental brush, a tongue scraper, or another implement designed for oral care. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilised, and that structural and functional modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the appended claims.

    [0042] Figures 1 and 2 illustrate an oral care implement, in this case a toothbrush, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, generally designated with the reference numeral 1. As viewed from the exterior, the toothbrush 1 generally comprises a body 100, oral care elements 200 and a fluid outlet 125 on a head 120 of the body 100, and a user-operable actuator 310 of a pump 300 on a handle 110 of the body 100.

    [0043] The body 100 of the toothbrush 1 has a proximal end 101 and a distal end 102 and is elongate between the proximal and distal ends 101, 102. The body 100 comprises the handle 110 and the head 120 at a distal end 112 of the handle 110. The head 120 is a distal portion of the body 100 and has a proximal end 121 and a distal end 122, which distal end 122 forms the distal end 102 of the body 100. The head 120 has extending therefrom the oral care elements 200 for cleaning or polishing surfaces in a user's mouth, such as surfaces of their teeth.

    [0044] The oral care elements 200 extend from a first, front side of the toothbrush 1, more specifically from a first, front side 123 of the head 120, and are for cleaning or polishing surfaces in a user's mouth, such as surfaces of their teeth. As used herein, the term "oral care element" is used in a generic sense to refer to any structure that can be used to clean, massage or polish an oral surface, such as teeth or soft tissue, through relative surface contact. In this embodiment, the oral care elements comprise a plurality of tooth cleaning elements, preferably a plurality of flexible bristles arranged in tufts. However, in variations to this embodiment, the oral care elements may additionally or alternatively comprise one or more tooth polishing elements, preferably in the form of elastomeric tooth polishing elements, such as elastomeric protrusions, elements, fingers, or prophylactic (prophy) cups. In some embodiments, the oral care elements 200 may comprise at least one of any one or more of the following, without limitation: bristles, rigid bristles, flexible bristles, filament bristles, fibre bristles, nylon bristles, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) bristles, tapered bristles, spiral bristles, rubber bristles, elastomeric protrusions, elastomeric elements, flexible polymer protrusions, co-extruded filaments, flag bristles, crimped bristles, anti-bacterial bristles and combinations thereof and/or structures containing such materials or combinations. Although the oral care fluid is stored in the reservoir 400 in the illustrated embodiment, in variations to the illustrated embodiment the toothbrush 1 may be supplied with the reservoir 400 free of oral care fluid and fillable with the oral care fluid after purchase.

    [0045] The head 120 also comprises the fluid outlet 125 at the first, front side 123 of the head 120. The fluid outlet 125 will be described in more detail below. In a variation to the illustrated embodiment, a soft tissue cleaner may be provided on a second side of the toothbrush 1, such as a second, rear side of the toothbrush 1 opposite to the front side of the toothbrush 1. Such a soft tissue cleaner may be provided on a second, rear side 124 of the head 120.

    [0046] The handle 110 is a proximal portion of the body 100 and has the distal end 112 and a proximal end 111, which proximal end 111 forms the proximal end 101 of the body 100. The handle 110 includes a neck portion 118 by which the handle 110 is connected with the head 120. The neck portion 118 is generally of a smaller cross sectional area than the rest of the handle 110. The neck portion 118 includes the distal end 112 of the handle 110, which is that portion of the handle 110 fixed to and closest to the proximal end 121 of the head 120. In the illustrated embodiment, the head 120 is non-detachable from the handle 110. However, in variations to the illustrated embodiment, the head 120 may be detachable from the handle 110, such as for replacement of the head 110 when the oral care elements 200 become worn.

    [0047] The handle 110 provides a user with a mechanism by which he/she can readily grip and manipulate the toothbrush 1, includes ergonomic features which provide a high degree of control for the user while maintaining comfort, and may be formed of many different shapes and with a variety of constructions. Although the handle 110 is a non-linear structure in the illustrated embodiment, the invention is not so limited, and in certain embodiments the toothbrush 1 may have a simple linear handle 110.

    [0048] The toothbrush 1 comprises a reservoir 400 in the handle 110 of the body 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the reservoir 400 is comprised in a vessel formed from a plastic, such as a thermoplastic polymer, e.g. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polypropylene (PP), is housed inside the body 100 of the toothbrush 1, and is visible from the exterior of the toothbrush 1, since the body 100 in this embodiment is transparent or translucent. The reservoir 400 is translucent or transparent, so that a user can view the contents of the reservoir 400. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the material from which the body 100 is made is opaque. One or more windows may be provided in such an opaque body 100, so that the reservoir 400 and its contents are visible from the exterior of the toothbrush 1. In further embodiments, the body 100 comprises the reservoir 400 and the reservoir 400 forms a portion, or all, of the handle 110. In some embodiments, the reservoir 400 is detachably connected to the body 100 and may be replaceable or disposable.

    [0049] Preferably, the oral care fluid comprises one or more oral care agents. Any suitable oral care agent(s) can be used in the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the oral care fluid is a mouthwash comprising one or more antibacterial agents, flavors or flavor ingredients, and breath freshening ingredients. However, in variations to the illustrated embodiment, the oral care fluid comprises one or more oral care agents selected from the group consisting of: antibacterial agents; oxidative or whitening agents; enamel strengthening or repair agents; tooth erosion preventing agents; tooth anti-sensitivity ingredients; gum health actives; nutritional ingredients; tartar control or anti-stain ingredients; enzymes; sensate ingredients; caries or plaque disclosing agents; flavors or flavor ingredients; breath freshening ingredients; oral malodor reducing agents; anti-attachment agents or sealants; diagnostic solutions; occluding agents, dry mouth relief ingredients; catalysts to enhance the activity of any of these agents; colorants or aesthetic ingredients; and combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the oral care fluid comprises more than one of the oral care agents listed in the preceding sentence. The oral care fluid preferably is free of (i.e., is not) toothpaste. Preferably, the oral care fluid is intended to provide supplemental oral care benefits in addition to merely brushing one's teeth. The oral care fluid preferably is a liquid.

    [0050] The toothbrush 1 also comprises the pump 300 in the body 100. The pump 300 is for pumping the oral care fluid from the reservoir 400 in the handle 110 to the fluid outlet 125 of the head 120. The pump 300 comprises a first check valve 301, a second check valve 302 downstream from the first check valve 301, and a chamber 305 of variable volume between the first and second check valves 301, 302. That is, the first check valve 301 is downstream of the reservoir 400 and upstream of the chamber 305, the chamber 305 is downstream of the first check valve 301 and upstream of the second check valve 302, and the second check valve 302 is downstream of the chamber 305 and upstream of the fluid outlet 125. The first check valve 301 can be considered an inlet check valve, since it is through the first check valve 301 that oral care fluid is introduced into the chamber 305 from the reservoir 400. The second check valve 302 can be considered an outlet check valve, since it is through the second check valve 302 that oral care fluid is delivered out from the chamber 305 towards the fluid outlet 125.

    [0051] The reservoir 400 is fluidly connected to the first check valve 301 by a first passageway 331, and the second check valve 302 is fluidly connected to the fluid outlet 125 by a second passageway 332. In the illustrated embodiment, the first passageway 331 is defined by a, preferably flexible, dip tube 333 that extends from the reservoir 400 through the body 100 to the first check valve 301. Also, in the illustrated embodiment, the second passageway 332 is defined by a, preferably flexible, pipe 334 that extends from the second check valve 302 through the neck portion 118 of the body 100 towards the fluid outlet 125. Also, in the illustrated embodiment, the chamber 305 is defined by a flexible vessel 306 inside the handle 110 of the body 100. These components, and their relative positions, can be seen in Figures 1 and 3. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, some or a majority of the first passageway 331 may be defined by material of the body 100 and/or some or a majority of the second passageway 332 may be defined by material of the body 100.

    [0052] The fluid outlet 125 may be of any form known in the art. The fluid outlet 125 may permanently permit fluid communication from the exterior of the toothbrush 1 to the second passageway 332, or the fluid outlet 125 may comprise a valve, such as a check valve, e.g. a duck bill valve, that permits fluid flow from the second passageway 332 to the exterior of the toothbrush 1 and restricts or prevents fluid flow from the exterior of the toothbrush 1 to the second passageway 332. Optionally, the fluid outlet 125 includes a spray or atomizer nozzle for causing the oral care fluid to be emitted as one of a spray, a mist, and a stream. Such a nozzle optionally causes the oral care fluid to be emitted in the form of droplets having an average diameter of less than 500 microns, or less than 400 microns, or less than 300 microns, or less than 200 microns, or less than 150 microns.

    [0053] As best shown in Figure 4, the first check valve 301 comprises a first valve seat (not shown) defining a first opening (not shown) through which oral care fluid is flowable from the reservoir 400 towards the chamber 305. The first check valve 301 also comprises a first valve member 370 that is separate from the first valve seat, that comprises a first stopper 372 that is movable linearly relative to the first valve seat, and that is for blocking or restricting fluid flow through the first opening. In some embodiments, the first stopper 372 comprises a plug for plugging the first opening so as to block or restrict fluid flow through the first opening. In other embodiments, the first stopper 372 comprises a cover for covering the first opening so as to block or restrict fluid flow through the first opening. The first valve seat and a perimeter of the first stopper 372 may be of the same shape. In embodiments in which the first stopper 372 comprises a plug for plugging the first opening, the provision of such same shapes helps create a good seal between the first stopper 372 and the first valve seat when the first stopper 372 is blocking the first opening. In the present embodiment, each of the first valve seat and the perimeter of the first stopper 372 is circular. In the present embodiment, the first stopper 372 is resilient and/or flexible, in order to help the first stopper 372 conform to the shape of the first valve seat to create a good seal between the first stopper 372 and the first valve seat when the first stopper 372 is blocking the first opening. In other embodiments, the first stopper 372 may be substantially rigid. Although the illustrated first stopper 372 may also be movable relative to the first valve seat in manners other than linearly, such as by rotating about a point at which the first stopper 372 contacts the first valve seat, nevertheless the first stopper 372 is movable linearly relative to the first valve seat. In some embodiments, the first stopper 372 is constrained to movement relative to the first valve seat that is linear.

    [0054] The first valve member 370 comprises a first stem 374 extending from the first stopper 372 and, when the first check valve 301 is fully assembled, the first stem 374 is movably located in the first opening so as to help locate the first valve member 370 relative to the first opening and to restrict movement of the first valve member 370 relative to the first opening to linear movement. In the illustrated embodiment, the first stem 374 is unitary with the first stopper 372, but in other embodiments the first stem 374 may be separate from the first stopper 372. Herein, by "unitary" it is meant integrally formed with, so as together to be just one piece. Herein, by "separate" it is meant discrete, distinct components that are not unitary or integrally formed. Nevertheless, in embodiments where the first stem 374 is separate from the first stopper 372, the first stem 374 and the first stopper 372 may contact each other and be connected together. In the illustrated embodiment, the first stem 374 is tapered, so that its cross-sectional area reduces with distance from the first stopper 372, in order to aid location of the first stem 374 in the first opening during assembly and to aid fluid flow past the first stem 374 during operation of the pump 300. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the first stem 374 may not be tapered.

    [0055] The first check valve 301 also comprises a first resilient element 380 which, when the first check valve 301 is fully assembled, biases the first stopper 372 towards the first valve seat to block or restrict fluid flow through the first opening. The first stopper 372 is movable between a first position, at which the first stopper 372 blocks the first opening, and a second position, at which the first opening is not blocked by the first stopper 372. The first resilient element 380 biases the first stopper 372 to the first position. In the illustrated embodiment, the first resilient element 380 comprises a compression spring, in the form of a helical or coil spring, for pushing the first stopper 372 towards the first valve seat, i.e. towards the first position. In other embodiments, the first resilient element 380 may comprise a different form of compression spring, such as a leaf spring. In some embodiments, the first resilient element 380 may be a tension spring arranged for pulling the first stopper 372 towards the first valve seat, i.e. towards the first position. In the illustrated embodiment, the first resilient element 380 is separate from the first valve member 370, but in other embodiments the first resilient element 380 may be unitary with the first valve member 370. Since the first resilient element 380 is separate from the first valve member 370, the first resilient element 380 and the first valve member 370 can be manufactured from respective different materials that are optimum or particularly adapted to carry out the respective roles of the first resilient element 380 and the first valve member 370 without impacting the performance of the other of the first resilient element 380 and the first valve member 370. Thus, the first resilient element 380 can be manufactured from a material with a suitable spring constant to permit effective and reliable control of fluid flow through the first check valve 301, and the first valve member 370 can be manufactured from a durable material with suitable characteristics to seal the first opening when the first check valve 301 is closed. The first resilient element 380 may be made from a metal, such as spring steel. The first valve member 370 may be made from a metal or a plastic, such as a thermoplastic polymer, e.g. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polypropylene (PP). The first valve member 370 may be made from an elastomer, such as a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or silicone. The spring constant of the first resilient element 380 may be at least 10 N/m, at least 25 N/m, at least 50 N/m, at least 75 N/m, or at least 100 N/m.

    [0056] As best shown in Figures 4 to 6, the first check valve 301 further comprises a first casing 320 within which the first stopper 372 and the first resilient element 380 are located. The first casing 320 is non-unitary with the body 100 and is located within the body 100, as best shown in Figure 1. The first casing 320 comprises a first casing part 350 and a second casing part 360 attachable (attached, when the first check valve 301 is fully assembled) to the first casing part 350 so as to encase the first stopper 372 and the first resilient element 380 in the first casing 320. Each of the first and second casing parts 350, 360 comprises a cup-shaped portion 351, 361 with a rim 352, 362 defining an opening into an interior cavity 353, 363 of the respective cup-shaped portion 351, 361. During assembly of the first check valve 301, the first and second casing parts 350, 360 are affixed to each other with the rims 352, 362 in contact with each other to create a seal therebetween, so that the interior cavities 353, 363 together define a hollow interior of the first check valve 301 within which the first stopper 372 and the first resilient element 380 are located. The first and second casing parts 350, 360 may be affixed to each other in any suitable manner, such as by adhesion or welding or by a mechanical connection, such as a friction fit, a snap fit, a bayonet connection, a threaded connection, or one or more clips.

    [0057] The first valve seat is defined by the first casing 320, and more specifically by the first casing part 350. An end of the first resilient element 380 abuts a surface 364 of the first casing 320. More specifically, a first end 381 of the first resilient element 380 abuts the first stopper 372 and a second end 382 of the first resilient element 380 abuts an interior surface 364 of the second casing part 360. The surface 364 of the first casing 320, i.e. the interior surface 364 of the second casing part 360, is in a recess 365 in the second casing part 360. The first resilient element 380 can be considered to resiliently connect the interior surface 364 of the second casing part 360 with the first stopper 372, and to bias the first stopper 372 away from the interior surface 364 of the second casing part 360 and towards the first valve seat defined by the first casing part 350.

    [0058] The first casing part 350 further comprises a first protrusion 356 extending from an exterior of the cup-shaped portion 351 and defining a first lumen 357 therein. The first lumen 357 is fluidly connected with the first opening defined by the first valve seat, so that the interior cavity 353 of the cup-shaped portion 351 of the first casing part 350 is fluidly connected with the first lumen 357. On assembly of the toothbrush 1, an end of the dip tube 333 is push-fitted onto the first protrusion 356 to place the first lumen 357, and thus the hollow interior of the first check valve 301, in fluid communication with the first passageway 331 and, ultimately, with the reservoir 400, as can be appreciated from Figures 1 and 3.

    [0059] The second casing part 360 further comprises a second protrusion 366 extending from an exterior of the cup-shaped portion 361 and defining a second lumen 367 therein. The second lumen 367 is fluidly connected with an opening in the cup-shaped portion 361 of the second casing part 360, so that the interior cavity 363 of the cup-shaped portion 361 of the second casing part 360 is fluidly connected with the second lumen 367. On assembly of the toothbrush 1, a first end of the flexible vessel 306 defining the chamber 305 is push-fitted onto the second protrusion 366 to place the second lumen 367, and thus the hollow interior of the first check valve 301, in fluid communication with the chamber 305, as can be appreciated from Figures 1 and 3.

    [0060] The second check valve 302 comprises the same components as the first check valve 301, and differs from the first check valve 301 only (a) in the spring constant of a second resilient element that corresponds to the first resilient element 380 of the first check valve 301, and (b) in the components to which the second check valve 302 is connected, as described in more detail below.

    [0061] Thus, the second check valves 302 comprises a second valve seat defining a second opening through which the oral care fluid is flowable, a second valve member comprising a second stopper, and the second resilient element biasing the second stopper towards the second valve seat to block or restrict fluid flow through the second opening. The second valve member is separate from the second valve seat, and the second stopper is movable linearly relative to the second valve seat and has a free edge along a full perimeter of the second stopper.

    [0062] The spring constant of the first resilient element 380 of the first check valve 301 is less than the spring constant of the second resilient element of the second check valve 302. Accordingly, the resistance to flow of the oral care fluid through the second check valve 302 is greater than the resistance to flow of the oral care fluid through the first check valve 301. Thus, oral care fluid can be relatively easily drawn into the chamber 305 of the pump 300 during operation of the pump 300, but the oral care fluid in the chamber 305 is unlikely to pass through the second check valve 302 towards the fluid outlet 125 during periods of non-operation of the pump 300, such as when the toothbrush 1 is in storage. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the spring constant of the first resilient element 380 of the first check valve 301 is more than the spring constant of the second resilient element of the second check valve 302, or the spring constant of the first resilient element 380 of the first check valve 301 is substantially the same as the spring constant of the second resilient element of the second check valve 302. The spring constant of the second resilient element may be at least 10 N/m, at least 25 N/m, at least 50 N/m, at least 75 N/m, or at least 100 N/m.

    [0063] As best shown in Figure 1, the second check valve 302 further comprises a second casing within which the second stopper and the second resilient element are located. The second casing is non-unitary with the body 100 and is located within the body 100. The second casing comprises a first casing part 390 and a second casing part 395 attachable (attached, when the second check valve 302 is fully assembled) to the first casing part 390 so as to encase the second stopper and the second resilient element in the second casing. The first and second casing parts 390, 395 of the second check valve 302 are identical to the first and second casing parts 350, 360 of the first check valve 301, and so will not be described in detail for conciseness.

    [0064] The first casing part 390 of the second check valve 302 comprises a first protrusion 391 extending from an exterior of a cup-shaped portion of the first casing part 390 and defining a third lumen therein. The third lumen in the first protrusion 391 is fluidly connected with the second opening defined by the second valve seat, so that an interior cavity of the cup-shaped portion of the first casing part 390 is fluidly connected with the third lumen. On assembly of the toothbrush 1, a second end of the flexible vessel 306 defining the chamber 305 is push-fitted onto the first protrusion 391 to place the third lumen, and thus the hollow interior of the second check valve 302, in fluid communication with the chamber 305, as can be appreciated from Figures 1 and 3.

    [0065] The second casing part 395 of the second check valve 302 comprises a second protrusion 396 extending from an exterior of a cup-shaped portion of the second casing part 395 and defining a fourth lumen therein. The fourth lumen is fluidly connected with an opening in a cup-shaped portion of the second casing part 395, so that an interior cavity of the cup-shaped portion of the second casing part 395 is fluidly connected with the fourth lumen. On assembly of the toothbrush 1, an end of the pipe 334 is push-fitted onto the second protrusion 396 to place the fourth lumen, and thus the hollow interior of the second check valve 302, in fluid communication with the fluid outlet 125, as can be appreciated from Figures 1 and 3.

    [0066] The pump 300 comprises a diaphragm pump. As mentioned above, the chamber 305 of the pump 300 is of variable volume. A wall of the chamber 305 comprises a resilient movable diaphragm 312. The movable diaphragm 312 may be made from an elastomer, such as a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or silicone. The movable diaphragm 312 is operably connected to the user-operable actuator 310 for a user to operate the pump 300 to pump oral care fluid from the reservoir 400 to the fluid outlet 125. In the illustrated embodiment, the toothbrush 1 comprises a thumb grip surface 311 on the first, front side of the toothbrush 1, more specifically on a first, front side 113 of the handle 110, and the thumb grip surface 311 is a surface of the user-operable actuator 310, so that the thumb grip surface 311 is operably connected to the movable diaphragm 312. On a second, rear side of the toothbrush 1, more specifically on a second, rear side 114 of the handle 110, the toothbrush 1 may comprise a second grip surface. During use of the toothbrush 1, a user most comfortably holds the toothbrush 1 with the handle 110 lying in the palm of their hand, with their thumb on the thumb grip surface 311, and with their index and/or middle finger on the optional second grip surface. The thumb grip surface 311, and the rest of the user-operable actuator 310, is movable relative to the body 100 to cause movement of the movable diaphragm 312, which causes a change in volume of the chamber 305 and thus operation of the pump 300. In some embodiments, the thumb grip surface 311 is a surface of the movable diaphragm 312, or is otherwise unitary with the movable diaphragm 312. In such embodiments, the movable diaphragm 312 may be made from an elastomer, such as a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or silicone.

    [0067] Operation of the illustrated toothbrush 1 will now be described. Preferably, a user applies a dentifrice to the oral care elements 200 and then uses the dentifrice and the oral care elements 200 to brush their teeth. In order to benefit from the effects of the oral care fluid in the reservoir 400, before, during or after brushing their teeth, while holding the head 120 in their oral cavity, the user applies a force F (see Figure 1) onto the thumb grip surface 311 in a direction substantially towards a longitudinal axis A-A of the toothbrush 1. Application of the force F causes the user-operable actuator 310 to apply pressure to the movable diaphragm 312, thereby to reduce the volume of the chamber 305. The reduction in volume of the chamber 305 increases pressure of fluid in the chamber 305. As will be appreciated by the skilled person, the increased pressure of the fluid in the chamber 305 causes the fluid in the chamber 305 to apply a force to the second stopper of the second check valve 302 to overcome the resilience of the second resilient element of the second check valve 302. The second check valve 302 thus opens (i.e. the second stopper moves to its second position), and the fluid in the chamber 305 passes through the second check valve 302 into the second passageway 332. Meanwhile, the first check valve 301 remains closed (i.e. the first stopper 370 remains at its first position), because the pressure in the chamber 305 is greater than that in the first passageway 331. The second check valve 302 remains open until the pressure in the chamber 305 and the pressure in the second passageway 332 are substantially equal, at which point the second check valve 302 closes (i.e. the second stopper returns to its first position) due to the resilience of the second resilient element.

    [0068] When the user subsequently reduces or removes the force F, the resilience of the diaphragm 312 causes the diaphragm 312 to move back to its original position, thereby to increase the volume of the chamber 305 and correspondingly reduce the pressure of fluid in the chamber 305. Initially, during this movement of the diaphragm 312, both the first and second check valves 301, 302 are closed. However, once the pressure of fluid in the chamber 305 drops to below the pressure of fluid in the first passageway 331, the higher pressure of the fluid in the first passageway 331 causes the fluid in the first passageway 331 to apply a force to the first stopper 372 of the first check valve 301 to overcome the resilience of the first resilient element 380. The first check valve 301 thus opens (i.e. the first stopper 370 moves to its second position), and the fluid in the first passageway 331, comprising oral care fluid from the reservoir 400, passes through the first check valve 301 into the chamber 305. Meanwhile, the second check valve 302 remains closed (i.e. the second stopper remains at its first position), because the pressure in the second passageway 332 is greater than that in the chamber 305. Once the pressure in the chamber 305 and the pressure in the first passageway 331 are substantially equal, the resilience of the first resilient element 380 of the first check valve 301 causes the first check valve 301 to close (i.e. the first stopper 370 returns to its first position). As will be understood by the skilled person, by reapplying the force F, the oral care fluid now in the chamber 305 passes through the second check valve 302. Repeated application and removal of the force F causes a net movement of the oral care fluid from the reservoir 400 to the fluid outlet 125 and the exterior of the toothbrush 1.

    [0069] In contrast to a known flap valve, since the first valve member 370 of the first check valve 301 is separate from the first valve seat, there is no unitary element connecting the first valve member 370 directly to the first valve seat that could deteriorate over time, particularly if subjected to high temperatures. Moreover, since the first stopper 370 is movable linearly relative to the valve seat, rather than necessarily being constrained to rotational movement about a hinge for example, the first valve member 370 has a simple construction that exposes a large area of the first opening on initial movement of the first stopper 370 from the first valve seat, leading to improved flow through the first check valve 301. Still further, since the first resilient element 380 is separate from the first valve member 370, the first resilient element 380 and the first valve member 370 can be manufactured from respective different materials that are optimum or particularly adapted to carry out the respective roles of the first resilient element 380 and the first valve member 370 without impacting the performance of the other of the first resilient element 380 and the first valve member 370. Thus, the first resilient element 380 can be manufactured from a material with a suitable spring constant to permit effective and reliable control of fluid flow through the first check valve 301, and the first valve member 370 can be manufactured from a durable material with suitable characteristics to seal the first opening when the first check valve 301 is closed. Corresponding comments are applicable for the corresponding components of the second check valve 302. Also, this modular construction of the first and second check valves 301, 302 permits like components of the first and second check valves 301, 302 to be standardized and identical to one another, leading to cost and manufacturing efficiencies. The first and second check valves 301, 302 can be given different characteristics, such as different performance characteristics, just by varying the necessary component(s) thereof. For example, the first and second resilient elements may be provided with different spring constants, if required, to provide optimum operating characteristics of the pump 300.

    [0070] In variations to the embodiment illustrated in Figures 1 to 6, which do not form part of the invention, the first and/or second casings of the first and second check valves 301, 302 may be omitted. In such variations, one or both of the first and second valve seats may be defined by a surface of the body 100. Moreover, in such variations, one or both of the surfaces that the respective second ends of the first and second resilient elements abut may be defined by a surface of the body 100. Still further, in such variations, some or a majority of one or both of the first and second passageways 331, 332 may be defined by material of the body 100. Furthermore, in such variations, the chamber 305 may be partially defined by material of the body 100. A cross section view of an embodiment not forming part of the present invention according to such a variation is shown in Figure 7. Like elements shown in Figures 1 to 6 and in Figure 7 are indicated with like numerals and will not be described again in the interests of conciseness. In the embodiment of Figure 7, respective surfaces of the body 100 define the first and second valve seats, the surfaces 364 that the respective second ends 382 of the first and second resilient elements 380 abut, and the first and second passageways 331, 332. Moreover, the chamber 305 is partially defined by material of the body 100 and partially defined by the movable diaphragm 312. The thumb grip surface 311 is a surface of the movable diaphragm 312, which is made from an elastomer, such as a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or silicone. To the extent they are compatible, any optional features of the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 6 described herein are optional features of the embodiment shown in Figure 7.

    [0071] In each of the illustrated embodiments, the first and second valves 301, 302 are substantially axially aligned. However, in respective variations to the illustrated embodiments, the first and second valves 301, 302 may be non-axially aligned. Non-axial alignment of the first and second valves 301, 302 is facilitated by having one or both of the first and second passageways 331, 332 defined by material of the body 100 or by flexible tubes/pipes. This permits greater design freedom when it comes to providing the oral care implement with an exterior shape.

    [0072] In variations to the illustrated embodiments, the user-operable actuator 310 may be located elsewhere than as illustrated. For example, the user-operable actuator 310 may be located at the proximal end 111 of the handle 110 or in the neck portion 118 of the handle 110.

    [0073] In variations to the illustrated embodiments, the reservoir 400 may take any known form. For example, the reservoir 400 may be comprised in a collapsible vessel, such as a collapsible bag or bellows in the body 100, in which case the body 100 preferably includes a vent fluidly connecting an exterior of the collapsible vessel to the exterior of the toothbrush 1, or the reservoir 400 may be comprised in a vessel including a piston separating the oral care fluid from a vented side of the piston.

    [0074] In variations to the illustrated embodiments, the reservoir 400 may be provided elsewhere in the body 100 than at the position shown in the Figures. For example, the reservoir 400 may be provided in or adjacent to the neck portion 118 of the handle 110, or in the head 120 of the body 100. In some variations to the illustrated embodiments, the reservoir 400 may extend into both the handle 110 and the head 120 of the body 100.


    Claims

    1. An oral care implement, comprising:

    a body (100) comprising a handle (110), a head (120) at an end (112) of the handle (110), and at least one fluid outlet (125), the head (120) having at least one oral care element (200) extending therefrom;

    a reservoir (400), in the body (100), for storing an oral care fluid; and a pump (300) for pumping the oral care fluid from the reservoir (400) towards the fluid outlet (125), wherein the pump (300) comprises a first check valve (301) downstream of the reservoir (400), and a second check valve (302) downstream of the first check valve (301) and upstream of the fluid outlet (125);

    wherein one of the first and second check valves (301, 302) comprises a valve seat defining an opening through which the oral care fluid is flowable, a valve member (370) separate from the valve seat and comprising a stopper (372) movable linearly relative to the valve seat, and a resilient element (380) biasing the stopper (372) towards the valve seat to restrict fluid flow through the opening;

    characterized in that one of the first and second check valves (301, 302) comprises a casing (320) within which the stopper (372) and the resilient element (380) are located, the casing (320) being located within the body (100) and non-unitary with the body (100).


     
    2. The oral care implement of claim 1, wherein the resilient element (380) is unitary with the valve member (370), or wherein the resilient element (380) is separate from the valve member (370).
     
    3. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the valve member (370) comprises a stem (374) extending from the stopper (372) and movably located in the opening, and wherein the stem (374) is unitary with the stopper (372).
     
    4. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the stopper (372) is resilient and/or flexible.
     
    5. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the stopper (372) comprises a plug for plugging the opening.
     
    6. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the resilient element (380) comprises a compression spring.
     
    7. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the resilient element (380) comprises a helical spring.
     
    8. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein an end (382) of the resilient element (380) abuts a surface (364) of the casing (320), wherein the surface (364) of the casing is in a recess (365) in the casing (320), and wherein the valve seat is defined by the casing (320).
     
    9. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the casing (320) comprises a first casing part (350) and a second casing part (360) attached to the first casing part (350) so as to encase the stopper (372) and the resilient element (380) in the casing (320), and wherein the first casing part (350) defines the valve seat and an end (382) of the resilient element (380) abuts a surface (364) of the second casing part (360).
     
    10. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the other of the first and second check valves (301, 302) comprises a second valve seat defining a second opening through which the oral care fluid is flowable, a second valve member (370) comprising a second stopper (372), and a second resilient element (380) biasing the second stopper (372) towards the second valve seat to restrict fluid flow through the second opening.
     
    11. The oral care implement of claim 10, wherein the one of the first and second check valves (301, 302) is the first check valve (301), the other of the first and second check valves (301, 302) is the second check valve (302), and wherein a spring constant of the resilient element (380) of the first check valve (301) is less than a spring constant of the second resilient element (380) of the second check valve (302).
     
    12. The oral care implement of claim 10 or claim 11, wherein the second valve member (370) is separate from the second valve seat.
     
    13. The oral care implement of any one of claims 10 to 12, wherein the second stopper (372) has a free edge along a full perimeter of the second stopper (372).
     
    14. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein a spring constant of the resilient element (380) of the first check valve (301) is at least 10 N/m; optionally at least 25 N/m; further optionally at least 50 N/m; further optionally at least 75 N/m; still further optionally at least 100 N/m.
     
    15. The oral care implement of any preceding claim, wherein the reservoir (400) is transparent or translucent.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Mundpflegegerät, das umfasst:

    einen Körper (100), der einen Griff (110), einen Kopf (120) an einem Ende (112) des Griffs (110) und mindestens einen Fluidauslass (125) umfasst, wobei der Kopf (120) mindestens ein Mundpflegeelement (200) aufweist, das sich von ihm aus erstreckt;

    ein Reservoir (400) in dem Körper (100) zum Speichern eines Mundpflegefluids; und

    eine Pumpe (300) zum Pumpen des Mundpflegefluids aus dem Reservoir (400) in Richtung des Fluidauslasses (125), wobei die Pumpe (300) ein erstes Rückschlagventil (301) stromabwärts des Reservoirs (400) und ein zweites Rückschlagventil (302) stromabwärts des ersten Rückschlagventils (301) und stromaufwärts des Fluidauslasses (125) umfasst;

    wobei das erste oder das zweite Rückschlagventil (301, 302) einen Ventilsitz, der eine Öffnung definiert, durch die das Mundpflegefluid fließen kann, ein Ventilelement (370), das separat von dem Ventilsitz ausgebildet ist und einen Stopper (372) umfasst, der linear relativ zu dem Ventilsitz bewegbar ist, und ein elastisches Element (380) umfasst, das den Stopper (372) in Richtung des Ventilsitzes vorspannt, um einen Fluidstrom durch die Öffnung zu begrenzen;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass eines des ersten und des zweiten Rückschlagventils (301, 302) ein Gehäuse (320) umfasst, in dem der Stopper (372) und das elastische Element (380) angeordnet sind, wobei das Gehäuse (320) in dem Körper (100) angeordnet und nicht einstückig mit dem Körper (100) ausgebildet ist.


     
    2. Mundpflegegerät nach Anspruch 1, wobei das elastische Element (380) einstückig mit dem Ventilelement (370) ausgebildet ist, oder wobei das elastische Element (380) separat von dem Ventilelement (370) ausgebildet ist.
     
    3. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Ventilelement (370) einen Schaft (374) umfasst, der sich von dem Stopper (372) erstreckt und bewegbar in der Öffnung angeordnet ist, und wobei der Schaft (374) einstückig mit dem Stopper (372) ausgebildet ist.
     
    4. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Stopfen (372) elastisch und/oder flexibel ist.
     
    5. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Stopper (372) einen Stopfen zum Verschließen der Öffnung umfasst.
     
    6. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das elastische Element (380) eine Druckfeder umfasst.
     
    7. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das elastische Element (380) eine Schraubenfeder umfasst.
     
    8. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei ein Ende (382) des elastischen Elements (380) an einer Oberfläche (364) des Gehäuses (320) anliegt, wobei sich die Oberfläche (364) des Gehäuses in einer Aussparung (365) in dem Gehäuse (320) befindet und wobei der Ventilsitz durch das Gehäuse (320) definiert ist.
     
    9. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Gehäuse (320) ein erstes Gehäuseteil (350) und ein an dem ersten Gehäuseteil (350) befestigtes zweites Gehäuseteil (360) umfasst, um den Stopper (372) und das elastische Element (380) in dem Gehäuse (320) einzuschließen, und wobei das erste Gehäuseteil (350) den Ventilsitz definiert und ein Ende (382) des elastischen Elements (380) an einer Oberfläche (364) des zweiten Gehäuseteils (360) anliegt.
     
    10. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das andere des ersten und des zweiten Rückschlagventils (301, 302) einen zweiten Ventilsitz, der eine zweite Öffnung definiert, durch die das Mundpflegefluid fließen kann, ein zweites Ventilelement (370), das einen zweiten Stopper (372) umfasst, und ein zweites elastisches Element (380) umfasst, das den zweiten Stopper (372) in Richtung des zweiten Ventilsitzes vorspannt, um den Fluidstrom durch die zweite Öffnung zu begrenzen.
     
    11. Mundpflegegerät nach Anspruch 10, wobei das eine des ersten und des zweiten Rückschlagventils (301, 302) das erste Rückschlagventil (301) ist, das andere des ersten und des zweiten Rückschlagventils (301, 302) das zweite Rückschlagventil (302) ist, und wobei eine Federkonstante des elastischen Elements (380) des ersten Rückschlagventils (301) kleiner ist als eine Federkonstante des zweiten elastischen Elements (380) des zweiten Rückschlagventils (302).
     
    12. Mundpflegegerät nach Anspruch 10 oder Anspruch 11, wobei das zweite Ventilelement (370) separat von dem zweiten Ventilsitz ausgebildet ist.
     
    13. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 12, wobei der zweite Stopfen (372) eine freie Kante entlang eines gesamten Umfangs des zweiten Stoppers (372) aufweist.
     
    14. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei eine Federkonstante des elastischen Elements (380) des ersten Rückschlagventils (301) mindestens 10 N/m, optional mindestens 25 N/m, weiter optional mindestens 50 N/m, weiter optional mindestens 75 N/m und weiter optional mindestens 100 N/m beträgt.
     
    15. Mundpflegegerät nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Reservoir (400) transparent oder transluzent ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Instrument de soin oral, comprenant

    un corps (100) comprenant un manche (110), une tête (120) à une extrémité (112) du manche (110), et au moins une sortie de fluide (125), la tête (120) ayant au moins un élément de soin oral (200) s'étendant à partir de celle-ci;

    un réservoir (400), dans le corps (100), pour stocker un fluide de soin oral; et une pompe (300) pour pomper le fluide de soin oral du réservoir (400) vers la sortie de fluide (125), dans laquelle la pompe (300) comprend un premier clapet de retenue (301) en aval du réservoir (400), et un deuxième clapet de retenue (302) en aval du premier clapet de retenue (301) et en amont de la sortie de fluide (125);

    dans lequel un des premier et deuxième clapets de retenue (301, 302) comprend un siège de clapet définissant une ouverture à travers laquelle le fluide de soin oral peut s'écouler, un élément de clapet (370) séparé du siège de clapet et comprenant un arrêt (372) mobile linéairement par rapport au siège de clapet, et un élément résilient (380) sollicitant l'arrêt (372) vers le siège de clapet pour restreindre un écoulement de fluide à travers l'ouverture;

    caractérisé en ce que un des premier et deuxième clapets de retenue (301, 302) comprend un boîtier (320) à l'intérieur duquel l'arrêt (372) et l'élément résilient (380) sont situés, le boîtier (320) étant situé à l'intérieur du corps (100) et non unitaire avec le corps (100).


     
    2. L'instrument de soin oral selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'élément résilient (380) est unitaire avec l'élément de clapet (370), ou dans lequel l'élément résilient (380) est séparé de l'élément de clapet (370).
     
    3. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'élément de clapet (370) comprend une tige (374) s'étendant depuis l'arrêt (372) et située de manière mobile dans l'ouverture, et dans lequel la tige (374) est unitaire avec l'arrêt (372).
     
    4. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'arrêt (372) est résilient et/ou flexible.
     
    5. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'arrêt (372) comprend un bouchon pour boucher l'ouverture.
     
    6. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'élément résilient (380) comprend un ressort de compression.
     
    7. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'élément résilient (380) comprend un ressort hélicoïdal.
     
    8. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel une extrémité (382) de l'élément résilient (380) vient en butée contre une surface (364) du boîtier (320), dans lequel la surface (364) du boîtier est dans une cavité (365) dans le boîtier (320), et dans lequel le siège de clapet est défini par le boîtier (320).
     
    9. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le boîtier (320) comprend une première partie de boîtier (350) et une deuxième partie de boîtier (360) fixée à la première partie de boîtier (350) de manière à enfermer l'arrêt (372) et l'élément résilient (380) dans le boîtier (320), et dans lequel la première partie de boîtier (350) définit le siège de clapet et une extrémité (382) de l'élément résilient (380) vient en butée contre une surface (364) de la deuxième partie de boîtier (360).
     
    10. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'autre des première et deuxième clapets de retenue (301, 302) comprend un deuxième siège de clapet définissant une deuxième ouverture à travers laquelle le fluide de soin oral peut s'écouler, un deuxième élément de clapet (370) comprenant un deuxième arrêt (372), et un deuxième élément résilient (380) sollicitant le deuxième arrêt (372) vers le deuxième siège de clapet pour restreindre l'écoulement de fluide à travers la deuxième ouverture.
     
    11. L'instrument de soin oral selon la revendication 10, dans lequel l'un des premier et deuxième clapets de retenue (301, 302) est le premier clapet de retenue (301), l'autre des premier et deuxième clapets de retenue (301, 302) est le deuxième clapet de retenue (302), et dans lequel une constante de ressort de l'élément résilient (380) du premier clapet de retenue (301) est inférieure à une constante de ressort du deuxième élément résilient (380) du deuxième clapet de retenue (302).
     
    12. L'instrument de soin oral selon la revendication 10 ou la revendication 11, dans lequel le deuxième élément de clapet (370) est séparé du deuxième siège de clapet.
     
    13. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications 10 à 12, dans lequel le deuxième arrêt (372) a un bord libre le long d'un périmètre complet du deuxième arrêt (372).
     
    14. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel une constante de ressort de l'élément résilient (380) du premier clapet de retenue (301) est d'au moins 10 N/m; facultativement d'au moins 25 N/m; en outre facultativement d'au moins 50 N/m; en outre facultativement d'au moins 75 N/m; en outre encore facultativement d'au moins 100 N/m.
     
    15. L'instrument de soin oral selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le réservoir (400) est transparent ou translucide.
     




    Drawing


























    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description