(19)
(11)EP 3 387 947 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
11.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/50

(21)Application number: 17165719.0

(22)Date of filing:  10.04.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A46B 5/02(2006.01)
A46B 9/04(2006.01)

(54)

ORAL CARE IMPLEMENT AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SUCH ORAL CARE IMPLEMENT

MUNDPFLEGEVORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN ZUR HERSTELLUNG SOLCH EINER MUNDPFLEGEVORRICHTUNG

INSTRUMENT D'HYGIÈNE BUCCALE ET PROCÉDÉ DE FABRICATION D'UN TEL INSTRUMENT D'HYGIÈNE BUCCALE


(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:
17.10.2018 Bulletin 2018/42

(73)Proprietor: The Gillette Company LLC
Boston, MA 02127 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • Tschol, Armin
    61476 Kronberg (DE)
  • Heil, Benedikt
    61476 Kronberg (DE)
  • Senturk Andersson, Aycan
    61476 Kronberg (DE)
  • Venzke, Stephanie
    61476 Kronberg (DE)
  • Hübner, Marlis
    61476 Kronberg (DE)

(74)Representative: P&G Patent Germany 
Procter & Gamble Service GmbH Sulzbacher Straße 40
65824 Schwalbach am Taunus
65824 Schwalbach am Taunus (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-98/37789
WO-A1-2013/031685
WO-A1-99/23910
WO-A1-2013/085006
  
      
    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

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present disclosure is concerned with an oral care implement comprising a head and a handle made of a first material. The handle comprises a thumb rest made of a second material, the second material being different from the first material.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] Heads and handles for oral care implements, like manual and powered toothbrushes, are well known in the art. Generally, tufts of bristles for cleaning teeth are attached to a bristle carrier or mounting surface of a brush head intended for insertion into a user's oral cavity. A handle is usually attached to the head, which handle is held by the user during brushing. The head is either permanently connected or repeatedly attachable to and detachable from the handle.

    [0003] In order to clean teeth effectively, appropriate contact pressure has to be provided between the free ends of the bristle tufts and the teeth. Generally, contact pressure depends not only on the bending stiffness and the displacement of the bristles, but also on the handle and head properties of the toothbrush, in particular on the shape, dimensions and bending stiffness of the handle and brush head. Usually handles of toothbrushes have the shape of a linear rod to be handled and manipulated by a user as needed. However, in the past it has been seen that such handles are neither comfortable to handle nor easy to maneuver in the oral care cavity of the user.

    [0004] Usually, handles with greater length show lower bending stiffness as compared to shorter handles having a similar cross-sectional area. However, relatively long handles with relatively low thickness tend to flex away easily and the relatively low bending stiffness results in reduced plaque removal efficiency on teeth surfaces. Further, such handles provide poor maneuverability in the mouth during brushing. In order to compensate said low bending stiffness of longer handles, the size of the cross sectional area of the handle could be increased. However, relatively thick handles may also reduce ease of rotating the brush in the hand, thus, impeding the user reaching all areas in the oral cavity. Consequently, maneuverability of the overall brush is not sufficient.

    [0005] In order to achieve and preserve good oral health, and to prevent gingivitis, it is important to clean teeth and gums thoroughly, in particular in hard to reach areas, e. g. in the region of the back molars. Further, gaps between teeth and periodontium, the so called gingival groove has to be thoroughly cleaned which requires a good and well-coordinated brushing technique. It is known that a lack of good removal of plaque in the gingival groove can cause gingivitis, i.e. inflammation of the gum tissue. Further, it is known that users/consumers use different brushing techniques, and, therefore, it is critical to identify optimal ergonomics of a toothbrush in order to provide good sensory feeling during brushing when using all types of brushing techniques

    [0006] WO 99/23910 discloses a toothbrush including a handle portion and a head portion. Said handle portion includes thumb gripping portion and finger gripping portion which are made of thermoplastic elastomer.

    [0007] WO 2013/031685 discloses a toothbrush comprising a handle body including a head part and a handle part. Said handle part having a grip part provided with a covering. A thumb rest is formed on said covering and comprises several protruding lines and grooved lines which extend in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the handle.

    [0008] WO98/377893 discloses a toothbrush comprising a brush, a handle and a flexible member positioned in a fixing groove formed in the handle. Said flexible member is formed of synthetic resins such as silicon and provided with a plurality of buffer protrusions, thereby to improve the feeling to the touch.

    [0009] It is an object of the present disclosure to provide an oral care implement which overcomes at least one of the above-mentioned drawbacks, in particular which provides more comfort and improved maneuverability of the oral care implement in the oral care cavity during brushing by optimizing the overall brush ergonomics. It is also an object of the present disclosure to provide a method for manufacturing such oral care implement.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0010] In accordance with one aspect, an oral care implement comprising a head and a handle made of a first material is provided, the handle having a distal end and a proximal end closest to the head, the handle comprising a thumb rest made of a second material, the second material being different from the first material, the thumb rest comprising an area from about 202 mm2 to about 360 mm2, wherein the thumb rest has a concave shape, and the thumb rest comprises a portion being inclined with respect to a remaining portion of the thumb rest by an angle α of about 20° to about 25°, the angle α being defined by a first line and a second line, the first line extending between a most elevated point and a lowest point of the thumb rest, and the second line extending between the lowest point and an end point of the thumb rest, the end point of the thumb rest being closest to the distal end of the handle.

    [0011] In accordance with one aspect, a method for manufacturing such oral care implement is provided, the method comprising the following steps:
    • injection molding a first component of polypropylene material forming an underlying base structure of the oral care implement,
    • injection molding a second component of polypropylene material over the first component,
    • injection molding a third component of thermoplastic elastomer material over the first component and the second component. Preferred embodiments are defined in the dependent claims.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0012] The invention is described in more detail below with reference to various embodiments and figures, wherein:

    Fig. 1 shows a side view of an example embodiment of an oral care implement according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 2 shows a top-down view on the embodiment of Fig. 1;

    Fig. 3 shows a portion of the handle of the embodiment of Fig. 1;

    Fig. 4 shows a graphic highlighting the impact of toothbrush ergonomics on the overall consumer product experience;

    Fig. 5 shows the "Oblique" grip style;

    Fig. 6 shows the "Distal oblique" grip style;

    Fig. 7 shows the "Power" grip style;

    Fig. 8 shows the "Precision" grip style, and

    Fig. 9 shows the "Chopstick" grip style.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0013] The oral care implement according to the present disclosure comprises a head on which at least one tooth cleaning element, e.g. a tuft of bristles and/or one or more elastomeric elements may be fixed, and a handle having a distal end and a proximal end. The proximal end of the handle is closest to the head and is opposite the distal end.

    [0014] The handle of the oral care implement is made of a first material, e.g. polypropylene, and comprises a thumb rest made of a second material. The second material is different from the first material. Such thumb rest may be made from a thermoplastic elastomer, e.g. having a Shore A hardness from about 30 to about 60, or about 40. Said material may prevent the oral care implement from being too slippery when used in wet conditions. The handle may further comprise another material, e.g. polypropylene having another color as compared to the first material.

    [0015] The thumb rest has an area from about 202 mm2 to about 360 mm2, or from about 250 mm2 to about 353 mm2, or from about 270 mm2 to about 350 mm2, or about 290 mm2 or about 340 mm2.

    [0016] The thumb rest has a concave shape and comprises a portion which is inclined with respect to a remaining portion of the thumb rest by an angle α of about 20° to about 25°, or about 24°. The angle α is defined by two lines, i.e. a first line and a second line. The first line extends between a most elevated point of the thumb rest and a lowest point of the thumb rest (when seen in a side view, cf. Figs. 1 and 3). The second line extends between the lowest point and an end point of the thumb rest. The end point of the thumb rest is defined as the point being closest to the distal end of the handle, i.e. furthest away from the head. Such ergonomics may allow for improved control and maneuverability of the oral care implement during brushing (cf. test results in Table 1 below).

    [0017] Surprisingly, consumer test results revealed that specific technical parameters for manual toothbrushes in terms of ergonomics have significant impact on the overall product experience. As shown in Fig. 4, ergonomics have an impact on the overall product experience of about 27%. Cleansing/refreshing has an impact of about 38% followed by gentleness of about 29%. Visual appearance of a toothbrush has an impact on the overall product experience of about 6%, only. According to these test results, ergonomics of manual toothbrushes are a main driver for consumer/user appeal; surprisingly, its impact is similar to the impact of gentleness. In other words, in order to achieve the desired product experience of a toothbrush, the ergonomics of a brush are as important as gentleness. Without having the right ergonomics, a toothbrush cannot clean in all regions of the oral cavity with sufficient cleaning satisfaction.

    [0018] Further, consumer test results revealed that the following parameters are critical drivers for ergonomics and, thus, have significant impact on the overall product experience: Overall length extension of the oral care implement, ratio of the length extension of the handle to the overall length extension of the oral care implement, size of the thumb rest area, bending direction of the thumb rest (concave/convex), and angle α of the thumb rest. These parameters were varied and tested to identify the ideal combination of these parameters.

    [0019] In principal, there are five different grip styles or ways to hold a toothbrush during tooth brushing: "Oblique", "Distal oblique", "Power", "Precision" and "Chopstick". These grip styles can be defined by the following characteristics (cf. Figs. 5 to 9):

    "Oblique": Very often used; handle weight is loosely placed in the palm; thumb is extended relative to the forefinger; allows good grip and navigation similar to cutting with a knife. Most often used for brushing as this is a common style applied for several occasions during a day, e.g. eating, hair combing, brush sweeping. In most cases consumers using this style are applying the scrubbing technique (i.e. a forth and back movement) to clean their teeth.

    "Distal oblique": Very often used; handle weight is loosely placed in the palm; thumb and ring finger oppose each other; allows good grip and navigation similar to cutting with a knife. Also often used for brushing as this is a common style applied for several occasions during a day, e.g. eating, hair combing, brush sweeping. In most cases consumers using this style are applying the scrubbing technique (i.e. a forth and back movement) to clean their teeth.

    "Power": Infrequently used; fingers wrap tightly around the handle; the thumb is mostly extended or wraps tightly around the handle; used by consumers thinking "more pressure cleans better", or as one of multiple changing styles during brushing for areas where consumers need better control, e.g. at the back molars or inner tooth surfaces. Some consumers are holding the handle at the lower end in order to reduce pressure. Also used by most kids when they start brushing on their own.

    "Precision": Infrequently used; weight of the handle mainly on fingertips; thumb and forefinger oppose each other; as this is a non-pressure style it is often used for hard to reach or sensitive areas, e.g. at the inner tooth surfaces. Often observed as transition grip to "Distal oblique" or "Oblique", but some consumers use it as their "only grip style".

    "Chopstick": Frequently used in chopstick regions; forefinger and thumb oppose each other thereby holding the handle tightly. Based on consumer habits, i.e. "Chopstick" style is very common in Asia; very familiar as it is often used for other occasions; used similar to the "Precision" style as the gentle way to clean hard to reach or sensitive areas.



    [0020] Surprisingly, consumer tests revealed that a toothbrush comprising a thumb rest having an area from about 202 mm2 to about 360 mm2, or from about 250 mm2 to about 353 mm2, or from about 270 mm2 to about 350 mm2, or about 290 mm2, or about 340 mm2, in combination with an inclined portion of the thumb rest with an angle α of about 20° to about 25°, or about 24° provides improved overall product experience to users/consumers. When applying any of the above described grip styles maneuverability of a toothbrush according to the present disclosure is significantly improved. The consumer tests revealed that the toothbrush of the present disclosure allows for a well-coordinated brushing technique. These consumer tests were carried out by US Americans in Germany. Consumers of a test panel applied a combination of the above described grip styles and gave their assessment with respect to the ergonomics (cf. Table 1 below).

    [0021] The thumb rest or gripping region may be attached onto the front surface of the handle in the region close to the proximal end, i.e. closest to the head. The thumb rest may comprise a plurality of ribs extending substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the oral care implement. Such ribs may allow users/consumers to use the oral care implement with even more control. The user/consumer can better grasp and manipulate the handle of the oral care implement during brushing. Such handle may provide improved control and greater comfort during brushing, in particular under wet conditions.

    [0022] The handle and the head of the oral care implement have each a length extension extending along the longitudinal extension of the oral care implement. The length extension of the head and the length extension of the handle may together define the overall length extension of the oral care implement.

    [0023] The length extension of the handle is defined as the section/portion of the oral care implement which extends from the distal end to the proximal end, i.e. to the end of the handle closest to the head. In other words, the head and handle merge at the proximal end of the handle. At the proximal end of the handle, a distance between a front surface and a back surface of the handle may have a maximum (when seen in a side view, cf. Fig. 3). In some cases, oral care implements are defined as having a head, a handle and a neck, the latter extending between the head and the handle. In the following and according to the present disclosure, a neck, usually having the smallest cross-sectional area extending substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the overall oral care implement is defined as a part of the brush head.

    [0024] Surprisingly, the consumer tests also revealed that an overall length extension of the oral care implement along its longitudinal axis from about 194 mm to about 197 mm, or from about 195 mm to about 196 mm, or about 195 mm in combination with a ratio of the length extension of the handle to the overall length extension of the oral care implement from about 0.59 to about 0.65, or from about 0.60 to about 0.64, or from about 0.61 to about 0.63 or about 0.62 provides improved overall product experience to users/consumers. When applying any of the above described grip styles maneuverability and control of a toothbrush according to the present disclosure is significantly improved. The consumer tests revealed that the toothbrush of the present disclosure allows for a well-coordinated brushing technique (cf. Table 1 below).

    [0025] The overall length extension of the oral care implement may be about 195 mm, the ratio of the length extension of the handle to the overall length extension of the oral care implement may be about 0.62, and the area of the thumb rest may be about 290 mm2 or about 340 mm2, and the angle α may be about 24°.

    [0026] The handle extension may be from about 119 mm to about 123 mm, or about 121 mm. The head extension may be from about 72 mm to about 76 mm, or about 74 mm.

    [0027] A method for manufacturing the oral care implement according to the present disclosure may comprise the following steps:
    • injection molding a first component of polypropylene material forming an underlying base structure of the oral care implement,
    • injection molding a second component of polypropylene material over the first component,
    • injection molding a third component of thermoplastic elastomer material over the first component and/or the second component.


    [0028] The third component of thermoplastic elastomer material may form the thumb rest on the front surface of the oral care implement and a palm grip on the back surface being opposite the front surface to be gripped by the user's/consumer's fingers and thumb. Such handle configuration may even further resist slippage during use. The thermoplastic elastomer material may extend through an aperture provided in the underlying base structure and/or second component of the handle.

    [0029] The oral care implement may be a manual toothbrush or a powered driven toothbrush. The oral care implement may also be an inter-proximal pick, a plaque scraper or tissue/tongue cleanser.

    [0030] The following is a non-limiting discussion of example embodiments of oral care implements and parts thereof in accordance with the present disclosure, where reference to the Figures is made.

    [0031] Figs. 1 and 2 show two projections of an oral care implement 10, i.e. a toothbrush 10 of the present disclosure. Fig. 1 shows a side view of the toothbrush 10, while Fig. 2 shows the respective top-down view.

    [0032] Toothbrush 10 comprises a head 12 and a handle 14. An overall length extension 16 of the toothbrush 10 along its longitudinal axis 22 is composed of a length extension 18 of the head 12 and a length extension 20 of the handle 14. The overall length extension 16 of the toothbrush 10 is about 195 mm, while the length extension 18 of the head 12 may be about 74 mm and the length extension 20 of the handle 14 may be about 121 mm. Consequently, the ratio of the length extension 20 of the handle 14 to the overall length extension 16 of the toothbrush 10 is about 0.62. The handle has a distal end 52 furthest remote from the head 12 and a proximal end 54 closest to the head 12.

    [0033] The length extension 20 of the handle 14 extends from the distal end 52 to the proximal end 54, i.e. to the end of the handle 14 closest to the head 12. The head 12 and handle 14 merge at the proximal end 54 of the handle 14. At the proximal end 54 of the handle 14, the distance 56 between a front surface 34 and a back surface 38 of the handle 14 may have a maximum (when seen in a side view, cf. Fig. 3).

    [0034] Handle 14 is formed from three different materials: A first component of a polypropylene material 24 provided by an injection molding step forms an underlying base structure 26. A second component of another polypropylene material 28 is injection molded over the first component 24, and a third component of thermoplastic elastomer material 30 is injection molded over the first and the second component 24, 28. The third component of thermoplastic elastomer material 30 provides a thumb rest 32 on a front surface 34 of the handle 14 and a palm grip 36 on a back surface 38 of the handle 14, the back surface 38 being opposite the front surface 34.

    [0035] The polypropylene material of the first component and the polypropylene material of the second component may only differ in terms of color. Both polypropylene materials are relatively hard as compared to the thermoplastic elastomer material of the third component. The thermoplastic elastomer material of the third component may have a Shore A hardness of about 30 to about 60, or about 40.

    [0036] The thumb rest 32 has an area 40 of about 290 mm2 or about 340 mm2. The shape of the thumb rest 32 is concave, i.e. the thumb rest is inwardly curved with respect to the handle. As shown in Fig. 3, a portion of the thumb rest 32 is inclined with respect to the remaining portion of the thumb rest 32 by an angle α. The angle α may be about 24°, and is defined between a first line 42 and a second line 44. The first line 42 extends between a most elevated or highest point 46 of the thumb rest 32 and a lowest point 48 of the thumb rest 32 (as shown in the side view in Fig. 3). The second line 44 extends between the lowest point 48 of the thumb rest 32 and an end point 50, i.e. the most remote point of the thumb rest 32 closest to the distal end 52 of the handle 14.

    [0037] Fig. 4 shows a graphic 70 highlighting the impact of toothbrush ergonomics 60 on the overall consumer product experience. Consumer test results revealed that ergonomics 60 have an impact on the overall product experience of about 27%. Cleansing/refreshing 62 has an impact of about 38% followed by gentleness 64 of about 29%. Visual appearance 66 of a toothbrush has an impact on the overall product experience of about 6%, only.

    [0038] There exist five different grip styles or ways to hold a toothbrush during tooth brushing. Fig. 5 shows the "Oblique" grip style, Fig. 6 shows the "Distal oblique" grip style, Fig. 7 shows the "Power" grip style, Fig. 8 shows the "Precision" grip style, and Fig. 9 shows the "Chopstick" grip style. The characteristics when using the respective grip styles are described above.

    COMPARISON EXPERIMENTS



    [0039] Consumer tests with 20 trained and experienced panelists were carried out. The panelists were asked to rate toothbrushes in terms of ergonomics, maneuverability and control on a scale between "0" and "10", wherein "10" represents the best rating. The panelists were brushing their teeth in front of a mirror, thereby reflecting the actual usage situation.

    [0040] The following toothbrushes were tested: Example embodiment 10 according to Figs. 1 to 3 and comparative examples 100, 200, 300 and 400 according to the toothbrush specification of Table 1.
    Table 1: toothbrush specification
    Toothbrushes10100200300400
    Rating 7.56 4.85 3.2 5.95 6.0
    Overall lenght (mm) 195 190 188 193 195
    Ratio length handle/overall length 0.62 0.61 0.59 0.62 0.66
    Thumb rest area (mm2) 290 363 225 449 534
    Thumb rest bending direction concave concave convex concave concave
    Angle 24° 23.6° 17.5° 8.6° 17.4°


    [0041] The test results clearly show performance advantages in terms of ergonomics, maneuverability and control of the toothbrush of the present disclosure (example embodiment 10) as compared to toothbrushes according to comparative examples 100, 200, 300 and 400. While the toothbrush of example embodiment 10 received a rating of "7.56" on a scale between "0" and "10", comparative examples 100, 200, 300 and 400 received a rating between "3.2" and "6.0" only.

    [0042] The data set forth in Table 1 clearly show synergistic effects of the specific configuration/ergonomics of the toothbrush embodiment 10. In particular, the data show that the specific combination of the thumb rest area from about 202 mm2 to about 360 mm2 and the angle α from about 20° to about 25° provides improved maneuverability and control as compared to toothbrushes having a thumb rest area and angle below or above the claimed ranges. For example, comparative example embodiment 200 has a thumb rest area of about 225 mm2. However, since the angle α is relatively low, i.e. 17.5°, the performance of said toothbrush is poor, resulting in a rating of "3.2", only. Again, although comparative example embodiment 100 has an angle α of about 23.6°, the rating of said toothbrush is poor ("4.85"), as well, as the thumb rest area is too large (about 363 mm2).

    [0043] In the context of this disclosure, the term "substantially" refers to an arrangement of elements or features that, while in theory would be expected to exhibit exact correspondence or behavior, may, in practice embody something slightly less than exact. As such, the term denotes the degree by which a quantitative value, measurement or other related representation may vary from a stated reference without resulting in a change in the basic function of the subject matter at issue.

    [0044] The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as "40 mm" is intended to mean "about 40 mm."


    Claims

    1. An oral care implement (10) comprising a head (12) and a handle (14) made of a first material (24),
    the handle having a distal end (52) and a proximal end (54) closest to the head (12), the handle (14) comprising a thumb rest (32) made of a second material (30), the second material (30) being different from the first material (24), the thumb rest (32) comprising an area (40) from about 202 mm2 to about 360 mm2, wherein
    the thumb rest (32) has a concave shape, and
    the thumb rest (32) comprises a portion being inclined with respect to a remaining portion of the thumb rest (32) by an angle α of about 20° to about 25°, the angle α being defined by a first line (42) and a second line (44), the first line (42) extending between a most elevated point (46) and a lowest point (48) of the thumb rest (32), and the second line (44) extending between the lowest point (48) and an end point (50) of the thumb rest (32), the end point (50) of the thumb rest (32) being closest to the distal end (52) of the handle (14).
     
    2. The oral care implement (10) of claim 1, wherein the area (40) of the thumb rest (32) is from about 250 mm2 to about 353 mm2, preferably from about 270 mm2 to about 350 mm2, even further preferably about 290 mm2 or about 340 mm2.
     
    3. The oral care implement (10) of claim 1 or 2, wherein the first material (24) is a polypropylene material.
     
    4. The oral care implement (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the second material (30) is a thermoplastic elastomer material.
     
    5. The oral care implement (10) of claim 4, wherein the thermoplastic elastomer material has a Shore A hardness of about 30 to about 60, preferably about 40.
     
    6. The oral care implement (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the angle α is about 24°.
     
    7. The oral care implement (10) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the head (12) has a length extension (18) and the handle (14) has a length extension (20), the length extension (18) of the head (12) and the handle (14) together defining an overall length extension (16) of the oral care implement (10) along a longitudinal axis (22), the overall length extension (16) of the oral care implement (10) being from about 194 mm to about 197 mm, and the ratio of the length extension (20) of the handle (14) to the overall length extension (16) of the oral care implement (10) is from about 0.59 to about 0.65.
     
    8. The oral care implement (10) of claim 7, wherein the ratio of the length extension (20) of the handle (14) to the overall length extension (16) of the oral care implement (10) is from about 0.60 to about 0.64, preferably from about 0.61 to about 0.63, further preferably about 0.62.
     
    9. The oral care implement (10) of claim 7 or 8, wherein the overall length extension (16) of the oral care implement (10) is from about 195 mm to about 196 mm, preferably about 195 mm.
     
    10. The oral care implement (10) of any of claims 7 to 9, wherein the length extension (20) of the handle (14) is from about 119 mm to about 123 mm, preferably about 121 mm.
     
    11. The oral care implement (10) of any of claims 7 to 10, wherein the length extension (18) of the head (12) is from about 72 mm to about 76 mm, preferably about 74 mm.
     
    12. The oral care implement (10) of any of claims 7 to 11, wherein the overall length extension (16) of the oral care implement (10) is about 195 mm, the ratio of the length extension (20) of the handle (14) to the overall length extension (16) of the oral care implement (10) is about 0.62, and the area (40) of the thumb rest (32) is about 290 mm2 or about 340 mm2, preferably the angle α being about 24°.
     
    13. The oral care implement (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the handle (14) is formed of at least three different materials.
     
    14. A method for manufacturing an oral care implement (10) according to any of the preceding claims, the method comprising the following steps:

    - injection molding a first component of polypropylene material (24) forming an underlying base structure (26) of the oral care implement (10),

    - injection molding a second component of polypropylene material (28) over the first component (24),

    - injection molding a third component of thermoplastic elastomer material (30) over the first component (24) and the second component (28).


     
    15. The method of claim 14, wherein the third component (30) forms a thumb rest (32) on a front surface (34) of the oral care implement (10), and a palm grip (36) on the back surface 38) being opposite the front surface (34).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10), umfassend einen Kopf (12) und einen Griff (14), hergestellt aus einem ersten Material (24),
    wobei der Griff ein distales Ende (52) und ein proximales Ende (54), dem Kopf (12) am nächsten gelegen, aufweist, wobei der Griff (14) eine Daumenauflage (32) umfasst, hergestellt aus einem zweiten Material (30), wobei das zweite Material (30) unterschiedlich ist von dem ersten Material (24), die Daumenauflage (32) eine Fläche (40) von etwa 202 mm2 bis etwa 360 mm2 umfasst, wobei
    die Daumenauflage (32) eine konkave Form aufweist, und
    die Daumenauflage (32) einen Abschnitt umfasst, der in Bezug auf einen verbleibenden Abschnitt der Daumenauflage (32) in einem Winkel α von etwa 20° bis etwa 25° geneigt ist, wobei der Winkel α bestimmt ist durch eine erste Linie (42) und eine zweite Linie (44), wobei sich die erste Linie (42) zwischen einem höchsten Punkt (46) und einem niedrigsten Punkt (48) der Daumenauflage (32) erstreckt und wobei sich die zweite Linie (44) zwischen dem niedrigsten Punkt (48) und einem Endpunkt (50) der Daumenauflage (32) erstreckt, wobei der Endpunkt (50) der Daumenauflage (32) dem distalen Ende (52) des Griffs (14) am nächsten gelegen ist.
     
    2. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Fläche (40) der Daumenauflage (32) etwa von 250 mm2 bis etwa 353 mm2 beträgt, vorzugsweise etwa von 270 mm2 bis 350 mm2, noch weiter bevorzugt etwa 290 mm2 oder etwa 340 mm2.
     
    3. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei das erste Material (24) ein Polypropylen Material ist.
     
    4. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das zweite Material (30) ein Thermoplastelastomer-Material ist.
     
    5. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach Anspruch 4, wobei das Thermoplastelastomer-Material eine Shore A-Härte von etwa 30 bis etwa 60, vorzugsweise etwa 40, aufweist.
     
    6. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Winkel α etwa 24° ist.
     
    7. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Kopf (12) eine Längenausdehnung (18) aufweist und der Griff (14) eine Längenausdehnung (20) aufweist, wobei die Längenausdehnung (18) des Kopfes (12) und des Griffs (14) zusammen eine Gesamt-Längenausdehnung (16) des Mundpflegewerkzeugs (10) entlang einer Längsachse (22) ergeben, wobei die Gesamt-Längenausdehnung (16) des Mundpflegewerkzeugs (10) etwa von 194 mm bis etwa 197 mm beträgt, und das Verhältnis der Längenausdehnung (20) des Griffs (14) zu der Gesamt-Längenausdehnung (16) der Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) etwa von 0,59 bis 0,65 beträgt.
     
    8. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach Anspruch 7, wobei das Verhältnis der Längenausdehnung (20) des Griffs (14) zur Gesamt-Längenausdehnung (16) der Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) etwa von 0,60 bis etwa 0,64, vorzugsweise etwa von 0,61 bis etwa 0,63, weiter bevorzugt etwa 0,62 beträgt.
     
    9. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach Anspruch 7 oder 8, wobei die Gesamt-Längenausdehnung (16) des Mundpflegewerkzeugs (10) etwa von 195 mm bis etwa 196 mm, vorzugsweise etwa 195 mm beträgt.
     
    10. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der Ansprüche 7 bis 9, wobei die Längenausdehnung (20) des Griffs (14) etwa von 119 mm bis etwa 123 mm, vorzugsweise etwa 121 mm beträgt.
     
    11. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der Ansprüche 7 bis 10, wobei die Längenausdehnung (18) des Kopfes (12) etwa von 72 mm bis etwa 76 mm, vorzugsweise etwa 74 mm beträgt.
     
    12. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der Ansprüche 7 bis 11, wobei die Gesamt-Längenausdehnung (16) des Mundpflegewerkzeugs (10) etwa 195 mm beträgt, das Verhältnis der Längenausdehnung (20) des Griffs (14) zur Gesamt-Längenausdehnung (16) des Mundpflegewerkzeugs (10) etwa 0,62 beträgt, und die Fläche (40) der Daumenauflage (32) etwa 290 mm2 oder etwa 340 mm2 beträgt, vorzugsweise wobei der Winkel α etwa 24° beträgt.
     
    13. Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Griff (14) aus wenigstens drei unterschiedlichen Materialien hergestellt ist.
     
    14. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Mundpflegewerkzeug (10) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    - Spritzgießen einer ersten Komponente aus einem Polypropylen-Material (24), die eine zugrundeliegende Basisstruktur (26) des Mundpflegewerkzeugs (10) bildet,

    - Spritzgießen einer zweiten Komponente aus einem Polypropylen-Material (28) über die erste Komponente (24),

    - Spritzgießen einer dritten Komponente aus einem Thermoplastelastomer-Material (30) über die erste Komponente (24) und die zweite Komponente (28).


     
    15. Verfahren nach Anspruch 14, wobei die dritte Komponente (30) eine Daumenauflage (32) auf einer vorderen Oberfläche (34) des Mundpflegewerkzeugs (10) und einen Handflächengriff (36) auf der rückseitigen Oberfläche (38), die der vorderen Oberfläche (34) gegenüberliegt, bildet.
     


    Revendications

    1. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) comprenant une tête (12) et un manche (14) constitués d'un premier matériau (24),
    le manche ayant une extrémité distale (52) et une extrémité proximale (54) le plus près de la tête (12), le manche (14) comprenant un repose-pouce (32) constitué d'un second matériau (30), le second matériau (30) étant différent du premier matériau (24), le repose-pouce (32) comprenant une aire (40) d'environ 202 mm2 à environ 360 mm2, dans lequel
    le repose-pouce (32) présente une forme concave et
    le repose-pouce (32) comprend une partie qui est inclinée par rapport à une partie restante du repose-pouce (32) selon un angle α d'environ 20° à environ 25°, l'angle α étant défini par une première ligne (42) et une seconde ligne (44), la première ligne (42) s'étendant entre le point le plus élevé (46) et le point le plus bas (48) du repose-pouce (32) et la seconde ligne (44) s'étendant entre le point le plus bas (48) et un point d'extrémité (50) du repose-pouce (32), le point d'extrémité (50) du repose-pouce (32) étant le plus près de l'extrémité distale (52) du manche (14).
     
    2. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'aire (40) du repose-pouce (32) est comprise entre environ 250 mm2 et environ 353 mm2, de préférence entre environ 270 mm2 et environ 350 mm2, de préférence encore est égale à environ 290 mm2 ou à environ 340 mm2.
     
    3. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel le premier matériau (24) est un matériau polypropylène.
     
    4. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le second matériau (30) est un matériau élastomère thermoplastique.
     
    5. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le matériau élastomère thermoplastique possède une dureté Shore A comprise entre environ 30 et environ 60, de préférence est égale à environ 40.
     
    6. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel l'angle α est d'environ 24°.
     
    7. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la tête (12) présente une étendue en longueur (18) et le manche (14) présente une étendue en longueur (20), l'étendue en longueur (18) de la tête (12) et le manche (14) définissant conjointement une étendue en longueur totale (16) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) le long d'un axe longitudinal (22), l'étendue en longueur totale (16) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) étant comprise entre environ 194 mm et environ 197 mm et le rapport de l'étendue en longueur (20) du manche (14) à l'étendue en longueur totale (16) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) est compris entre environ 0,59 et environ 0,65.
     
    8. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon la revendication 7, dans lequel le rapport de l'étendue en longueur (20) du manche (14) à l'étendue en longueur totale (16) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) est compris entre environ 0,60 et environ 0,64, de préférence entre environ 0,61 et environ 0,63, de préférence encore est égal à environ 0,62.
     
    9. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon la revendication 7 ou 8, dans lequel l'étendue en longueur totale (16) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) est comprise entre environ 195 mm et environ 196 mm, de préférence est égale à environ 195 mm.
     
    10. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 9, dans lequel l'étendue en longueur (20) du manche (14) est comprise entre environ 119 mm et environ 123 mm, de préférence est égale à environ 121 mm.
     
    11. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 10, dans lequel l'étendue en longueur (18) de la tête (12) est comprise entre environ 72 mm et environ 76 mm, de préférence est égale à environ 74 mm.
     
    12. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 11, dans lequel l'étendue en longueur totale (16) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) est d'environ 195 mm, le rapport de l'étendue en longueur (20) du manche (14) à l'étendue en longueur totale (16) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) est d'environ 0,62 et l'aire (40) du repose-pouce (32) est d'environ 290 mm2 ou d'environ 340 mm2, l'angle α étant de préférence d'environ 24°.
     
    13. Instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le manche (14) est composé d'au moins trois matériaux différents.
     
    14. Procédé de fabrication d'un instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, le procédé comprenant les étapes suivantes :

    - mouler par injection un premier composant en matériau polypropylène (24) formant une structure de base sous-jacente (26) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10),

    - mouler par injection un deuxième composant en matériau polypropylène (28) par-dessus le premier composant (24),

    - mouler par injection un troisième composant en matériau élastomère thermoplastique (30) par-dessus le premier composant (24) et le deuxième composant (28).


     
    15. Procédé selon la revendication 14, dans lequel le troisième composant (30) forme un repose-pouce (32) sur une surface avant (34) de l'instrument d'hygiène bucco-dentaire (10) et un appuie-paume (36) sur la surface arrière (38) qui est opposée à la surface avant (34).
     




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    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