Patent of the month - A new toothbrush for children

Oral health for children is very important. Keeping teeth clean as a child develops can help to avoid severe dental problems later in life. However, as many parents have discovered, children often have difficulty using the right amount of toothpaste. Children brushing their teeth with too little toothpaste results in insufficient cleaning and allows bacteria to breed in the mouth. On the other hand, using too much toothpaste exposes the child to excess amounts of fluoride and ends up as a foamy mess.

Generally, children are much happier cleaning their teeth and have healthier teeth as a result if they can be helped to use exactly the right amount of toothpaste each time!

Lobel Limited has considered this problem and sought to solve it by providing a toothbrush which dispenses toothpaste as a child cleans their teeth.

As described in the company’s recently granted UK patent, GB 2532693 B, the innovative toothbrush works much like a hand soap dispenser – pressing the head of the toothbrush into the child’s mouth forces toothpaste out through the centre of the brush head.

If this system alone was used, then toothpaste would continually be pumped out, leading to product wastage and a sub-optimal tooth brushing experience. The inventor has therefore provided a locking mechanism so that the head is fixed in place after dispensing the first amount of toothpaste, ensuring that no more comes out while the child is brushing. This means that a correct and consistent amount of toothpaste is dispensed each time the child brushes their teeth.

This concept is a good example of taking a piece of technology well-known in one field and adapting it for use in another. While the technology might not seem ground breaking, the fact that no one else had previously conceived such a system means that the inventor is entitled to the patent. Only with the benefit of hindsight might such a system appear obvious.

All too often, new concepts, which have borrowed or adapted existing systems for new uses, are quickly dismissed. Here, however, we have a patent granted for solving a problem with toothbrushes by using a system previously applied to soap dispensers.

Just in case the improved toothpaste dispenser isn’t enough to get children brushing their teeth, the patent describes further features of the toothbrush, which might help to encourage them. These include a charging holder, which lights up while charging.

The charging holder may also include a Bluetooth antenna for communicating with the toothbrush so that a record can be made of when the toothbrush is used. Each month, the parent can then receive a full report detailing the toothbrush usage habits of their child.

With this toothbrush, it appears that technology could be making visits to the dentist less painful after all!