Colgate-Palmolive seeks patent for toothbrushes that deliver caffeine, meds

WASHINGTON – Twice a day, most people grab their toothbrushes, squeeze out a dollop of toothpaste and give their pearly whites a scrub.

And as if this process weren’t already important, a new patent filed by Colgate-Palmolive aims to make this hygienic step pack more punch.

The patent is for toothbrushes that can release chemicals straight into the mouth of the user as he brushes – and this is no joke. The patent was filed in October of 2012 and the information was published the United States Patent Quarterly in February. Here are some of them chemicals or medications Colgate-Palmolive says could be put into toothbrushes:

  • Topical pain relief, such as capsaicin and benzocaine, to provide help with teething or abrasions;
  • Menthol or other chemicals that provide cooling sensations;
  • Flavors, including apple, mint, lemon or other fruits;
  • Caffeine;
  • Appetite suppressants.

In the patent application, Colgate-Palmolive says the brushes would ideally be able to provide the benefit for three months and have an indicator showing when the chemical was gone.

“While consumers may seek to clean their tongue or teeth, there has not been a toothbrush which provides a chemical sensory response in a mouth to enhance a user’s brushing experience,” the application reads.

“Further, consumers have not been provided with a visual method to select a toothbrush which provides a sensory response. Hence, there is a need for a toothbrush that provides a biochemical sensory effect when in contact tissues of the mouth and supports a method to visually communicate the sensory effect to a user prior to use.”

Read the PDF below to check out the full patent application.

Patent application

h/t: Gawker.com: Crazy Toothbrush Injects You with Caffeine, Medicine as You Brush

WTOP’s Lacey Mason and David Burd contributed to this report. Follow @DavidBurdWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.


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