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Title:
APPLICATOR FOR A FLUID DISPENSER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/024980
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed is a fluid dispenser, comprising: a housing having an internal reservoir for containing a fluid, such as an oral care fluid, and an applicator connected to the housing. The applicator comprises a base having an exterior surface, the base comprising a valve having a movable portion defining an outlet of the valve and forming part of the exterior surface, and one or more projections extending from the exterior surface adjacent the valve outlet. The valve is for selectively blocking a passageway that is in fluid communication with the internal reservoir.

Inventors:
MOSKOVICH, Robert (20 Jensen Street, East Brunswick, New Jersey, 08816, US)
Application Number:
US2014/051118
Publication Date:
February 18, 2016
Filing Date:
August 14, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY (300 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10022, US)
International Classes:
A46B11/00; A45D19/02; A45D34/00; B65D47/20
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007032660A12007-03-22
Foreign References:
EP1810712A12007-07-25
US20050272002A12005-12-08
US20060240380A12006-10-26
US20080317544A12008-12-25
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FLANDRO, Ryan M. et al. (Colgate-Palmolive Company, 909 River RoadPiscataway, New Jersey, 08855, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An applicator for a fluid dispenser, the applicator comprising:

a base having an exterior surface, the base comprising a valve having a movable portion defining an outlet of the valve and forming part of the exterior surface; and

one or more projections extending from the exterior surface adjacent the valve outlet.

2. The applicator of claim 1, wherein the outlet is openable by deforming the movable portion.

3. The applicator of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the movable portion is resilient.

4. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the valve is a check valve.

5. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the valve is a duckbill valve.

6. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the outlet is a slit.

7. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein each of the one or more projections is resilient.

8. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the movable portion of the valve defines a distal-most portion of the base, wherein the outlet lies in a first plane that is parallel to a second plane that passes through the base, and wherein a distal end of each of the one or more projections is further than the outlet from the second plane.

9. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein each of the one or more projections has a proximal end connected to the exterior surface, a distal end remote from the exterior surface, and tapers towards the distal end.

10. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the outlet lies in a first plane, and wherein each of the one or more projections has an outer surface that is oblique to the first plane.

11. The applicator of claim 10, wherein the outer surface is planar.

12. The applicator of claim 10 or claim 11, wherein the base has a longitudinal axis normal to the first plane.

13. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein each of the one or more projections is one of porous and non-porous.

14. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the one or more projections is a plurality of projections.

15. The applicator of claim 14, wherein the outlet is located between two of the projections.

16. The applicator of claim 15, wherein a first set of the projections is located on a first side of the outlet and a second set of the projections is located on a second side of the outlet.

17. The applicator of any one of claims 14 to 16, wherein the projections surround the outlet.

18. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the one or more projections comprises a projection that surrounds the outlet.

19. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the one or more projections comprises a projection in the form of a wiper that is elongate along the exterior surface.

20. The applicator of claim 19, wherein the wiper is one of linear, non-linear, curved, angular, and wavy.

21. The applicator of any preceding claim, wherein the applicator comprises a unitary body comprising the base and the one or more projections.

22. The applicator of claim 21 , wherein the unitary body is resilient.

23. The applicator of claim 21 or claim 22, wherein the unitary body is formed from an elastomer, such as a thermoplastic elastomer.

24. A fiuid dispenser, comprising:

a housing having an internal reservoir for containing a fluid; and

an applicator according to any preceding claim connected to the housing, wherein the valve is for selectively blocking a passageway that is in fluid communication with the internal reservoir.

25. The f uid dispenser of claim 24, wherein the applicator is unitary with the housing.

26. The f uid dispenser of claim 24, wherein the applicator is affixed to the housing by one of adhesion, welding, and a mechanical connection.

27. The fluid dispenser of claim 26, wherein the mechanical connection is one of a friction fit, a snap fit, a bayonet connection, a threaded connection, and one or more clips.

28. The fluid dispenser of any one of claims 24 to 27, wherein the housing is squeezable by a user to reduce a volume of the internal reservoir.

29. The f uid dispenser of any one of claims 24 to 28, comprising a dispenser mechanism for moving fluid within the internal reservoir towards the valve.

30. The fluid dispenser of any one of claims 24 to 29, wherein the f uid is contained in the internal reservoir.

31. The fluid dispenser of claim 30, wherein the fluid is an oral care f uid, optionally wherein 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.

32. A system, comprising:

a fluid dispenser according to any one of claims 24 to 31 ; and

a personal care implement;

wherein the fluid dispenser is detachably connectable to the personal care implement.

33. The system of claim 32, wherein the personal care implement has a cavity therein, and wherein the fluid dispenser is sized and shaped to be received in the cavity.

34. The system of claim 33, comprising a retaining mechanism for retaining the fluid dispenser in the cavity.

35. The system of any one of claims 32 to 34, wherein the personal care implement is an oral care implement, such as a toothbrush.

Description:
APPLICATOR FOR A FLUID DISPENSER

BACKGROUND

[0001] The present invention relates to a dispenser for dispensing a fluid, and particularly to an applicator for such a fluid dispenser.

[0002] It is known to provide a dispenser that has an applicator comprising an outlet through which a fluid is dispensable. The applicator has an exterior surface within which the outlet is formed and upon which a quantity of the fluid may rest after dispensing but before applying to the destination surface, such as a surface of a user's body. However, such a known applicator is not ideally suited to spreading the dispensed fluid evenly on a surface of a user's body.

[0003] There is a need for an improved applicator for a fluid dispenser that is usable by a user to better spread dispensed fluid, such as a personal care fluid. There also is a need for a fluid dispenser comprising such an improved applicator.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[0004] A first embodiment of the present invention provides an applicator for a fluid dispenser, the applicator comprising: a base having an exterior surface, the base comprising a valve having a movable portion defining an outlet of the valve and forming part of the exterior surface; and one or more projections extending from the exterior surface adjacent the valve outlet.

[0005] Optionally, the outlet is openable by deforming the movable portion.

[0006] Optionally, the movable portion is resilient.

[0007] Optionally, the valve is a check valve.

[0008] Optionally, the valve is a duckbill valve.

[0009] Optionally, the outlet is a slit.

[0010] Optionally, each of the one or more projections is resilient.

[0011] Optionally, the movable portion of the valve defines a distal-most portion of the base, the outlet lies in a first plane that is parallel to a second plane that passes through the base, and a distal end of each of the one or more projections is further than the outlet from the second plane.

[0012] Optionally, each of the one or more projections has a proximal end connected to the exterior surface, a distal end remote from the exterior surface, and tapers towards the distal end.

[0013] Optionally, the outlet lies in a first plane, and each of the one or more projections has an outer surface that is oblique to the first plane. Further optionally, the outer surface is planar. [0014] Optionally, the base has a longitudinal axis normal to the first plane.

[0015] Each of the one or more projections may be porous or non-porous.

[0016] Optionally, the one or more projections is a plurality of projections.

[0017] Optionally, the outlet is located between two of the projections.

[0018] Optionally, a first set of the projections is located on a first side of the outlet and a second set of the projections is located on a second side of the outlet.

[0019] Optionally, the projections surround the outlet.

[0020] Optionally, the one or more projections comprises a projection that surrounds the outlet.

[0021] Optionally, the one or more projections comprises a projection in the form of a wiper that is elongate along the exterior surface. Further optionally, the wiper is one of linear, non-linear, curved, angular, and wavy.

[0022] Optionally, the applicator comprises a unitary body comprising the base and the one or more projections.

[0023] Optionally, the unitary body is resilient.

[0024] Optionally, the unitary body is formed from an elastomer, such as a thermoplastic elastomer.

[0025] A second embodiment of the present invention provides a fluid dispenser, comprising: a housing having an internal reservoir for containing a fluid; and the applicator connected to the housing, wherein the valve is for selectively blocking a passageway that is in fluid communication with the internal reservoir. The applicator may have any of the optional features discussed above.

[0026] Optionally, the applicator is unitary with the housing.

[0027] Optionally, the applicator is affixed to the housing. The applicator may be affixed to the housing by one of adhesion, welding, and a mechanical connection.

[0028] Optionally, the mechanical connection is one of a friction fit, a snap fit, a bayonet connection, a threaded connection, and one or more clips.

[0029] Optionally, the housing is squeezable by a user to reduce a volume of the internal reservoir.

[0030] Optionally, the fluid dispenser comprises a dispenser mechanism for moving fluid within the internal reservoir towards the valve. [0031] Optionally, the fluid is contained in the internal reservoir. The fluid may be an oral care fluid. Further 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.

[0032] A third embodiment of the present invention provides a system, comprising: the fluid dispenser; and a personal care implement; wherein the fluid dispenser is detachably connectable to the personal care implement. The fluid dispenser may have any of the optional features discussed above.

[0033] Optionally, the personal care implement has a cavity therein, and the fluid dispenser is sized and shaped to be received in the cavity.

[0034] Optionally, the system comprises a retaining mechanism for retaining the fluid dispenser in the cavity.

[0035] Optionally, the personal care implement is an oral care implement, such as a toothbrush.

[0036] 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

[0037] The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0038] Figure 1 shows a perspective view of an applicator according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0039] Figure 2 shows a cross-sectional view of the applicator of Figure 1;

[0040] Figure 3 shows a perspective view of a fluid dispenser according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and comprising the applicator of Figure 1; and [0041] Figure 4 shows a perspective view of a system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and comprising the fluid dispenser of Figure 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0042] 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.

[0043] 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. In addition, all references cited herein are hereby incorporated by referenced in their entireties. In the event of a conflict in a definition in the present disclosure and that of a cited reference, the present disclosure controls.

[0044] Figure 1 shows an applicator for a dispenser according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and indicated generally with the reference numeral 1. The applicator 1 comprises a resilient unitary body, which comprises a base 10 and a plurality of projections 20 extending from an exterior surface 12 of the base 10. Each of these elements will be described in turn. While in the illustrated embodiment the unitary body is resilient and formed from an elastomer, such as a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), in variations to the illustrated embodiment the unitary body may not be resilient but may be substantially rigid or hard. In some variations to the illustrated embodiment, the base 10 and the projections 20 may not be comprised in a unitary body, and instead the projections 20 may be affixed to the base 10.

[0045] The base 10 has a proximal portion 14 and a distal portion 16. The proximal portion 14 defines a proximal end 14a of the base 10, and the distal portion 16 defines a distal end (herein also referred to as a distal-most portion) 16a of the base 10. The proximal portion 14 of the base 10 has an external circular cross-sectional shape of a larger width than an external cross-sectional shape of the distal portion 16. As shown in Figure 2, the proximal end 14a of the base 10 defines an opening 14b into a hollow interior 11 of the base 10 from an exterior of the base 10 for receiving part of a housing of a fluid dispenser. The hollow interior 11 extends through the proximal portion 14 into the distal portion 16 of the base 10. The proximal portion 14 of the base 10 comprises a female thread 15 for attaching the base 10 and the rest of the unitary body to the housing of the fluid dispenser, as will be described in more detail below. The base 10 defines a longitudinal axis A-A that extends between the proximal and distal ends 14a, 16a of the base 10. [0046] In the illustrated embodiment, the distal portion 16 tapers towards the distal end 16a, so that an external cross-sectional area of the distal portion 16 reduces with distance from the proximal portion 14. The external cross-sectional shape of the distal portion 16 is circular at the point where the distal portion 16 meets the proximal portion 14, and is substantially rectangular at the distal end 16a. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the distal portion 16 may have a constant cross-sectional shape at all points between the point where the distal portion 16 meets the proximal portion 14 and the distal end 16a. For example, the constant cross-sectional shape may be circular or rectangular. Even if the constant cross-sectional shape is constant over the length of the distal portion 16, the exterior cross-sectional area of the distal portion 16 may be constant over the length of the distal portion 16, or may reduce over the length of the distal portion 16.

[0047] The base 10 comprises a valve 30, which is a check valve in the form of a duckbill valve 30. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the valve 30 could be a different form of check valve or a valve other than a check valve. However, it is preferred that the valve 30 is a check valve to enable simple operation of the applicator 1 by a user. The valve 30 has a movable portion 32 that forms part of the exterior surface 12 of the base 10. More particularly, the movable portion 32 of the valve 30 defines the distal -most portion 16 of the base 10. The movable portion 32 of the valve 30 defines an outlet 34 of the valve 30. The outlet 34 is in the form of a slit 34 that extends through the movable portion 32 to fluidly connect the hollow interior 11 of the base 10 with the exterior of the base 10 via the outlet 34 when the outlet 34 is open. While in the illustrated embodiment the slit 34 is linear, in variations to the illustrated embodiment the slit 34 may be non-linear, curved, angular or wavy. The outlet 34 is formed into the distal surface of the base 10.

[0048] In Figures 1 to 4, the outlet 34 is closed, so that fluid communication between the interior 11 of the base 10 and the exterior of the base 10 via the outlet 34 is not possible. However, the movable portion 32 defining the outlet 34 is flexible, and the outlet 34 is openable by deforming the moveable portion 32, such as by increasing a pressure in the hollow interior 11 to above that at the exterior of the base 10. The movable portion 32 also is resilient so that, when the pressure within the hollow interior 11 is equalized with that at the exterior of the base 10, the moveable portion 32 returns to its original state, as shown in Figures 1 to 4, thereby closing the outlet 34. [0049] The outlet lies in a first plane Pi to which the longitudinal axis A-A is normal. A second plane P 2 parallel to the first plane Pi passes through the base 10 and more particularly through the second portion 16 of the base 10. Each of the plurality of projections 20 has a proximal end 21 connected to the exterior surface 12 of the base 10 and a distal end 22 remote from the exterior surface 12 of the base 10. The distal end 22 of each of the plurality of projections 20 is further than the outlet 34 from the second plane P 2 . In other words, a first distance Di between the second plane P 2 and the first plane Pi is less than a second distance D 2 between the second plane P 2 and the distal end 22 of any one of the plurality of projections 20. That is, the first plane Pi lies between the distal end 22 of each of the plurality of projections 20 and the second plane P 2 . Stated another way, the projections 20 protrude beyond the distal surface of the base 10 and beyond the outlet 34. A difference between the first and second distances D ls D 2 preferably is between 0.1 and 20 millimeters. More preferably, the difference is between 0.25 and 10 millimeters. Still more preferably, the difference is between 0.5 and 5 millimeters.

[0050] A first set of the projections 20 is located on a first side of the outlet 34 adjacent the outlet 34 and a second set of the projections 20 is located on a second side of the outlet 34 adjacent the outlet 34. Accordingly, the outlet 34 is located between respective pairs of the projections 20 so that the outlet 34 is located between two (and, indeed, between more than two) of the projections 20. The first set of the projections 20 can be considered to lie along a first imaginary linear path, the second set of the projections 20 can be considered to lie along a second imaginary linear path, and the outlet 34 is linear and can be considered to lie along a third imaginary linear path that is parallel to, and between, the first and second imaginary linear paths. The projections 20 together define a discontinuous wall around a retaining region R downstream of the outlet 34, i.e. on an opposite side of the outlet 34 to the hollow interior 11 of the base 10. When fluid is dispensed through the outlet 34 from the hollow interior 11 into the retaining region R, the plurality of projections 20 help retain a volume of the dispensed fluid within the retaining region R and on the part of the exterior surface 12 of the base 10 formed by the moveable portion 32 for subsequent application by a user to the intended destination surface. In some embodiments of the present invention, the projections 20 surround the outlet 34 so as to provide optimum such retention of a volume of the dispensed fluid within the retaining region R. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the projections 20 is substantially non-porous, but in variations to the illustrated embodiment, some or each of the projections 20 may be porous to further aid retention of a volume of the dispensed fluid at the exterior of the applicator 1 before application to the intended destination surface. Each of the plurality of projections 20 is resilient. Accordingly, when the applicator 1 is rubbed on the intended destination surface, the projections 20 bend to comply with the intended destination surface and apply a restoring force in the direction of the intended destination surface thereby to press the fluid onto the intended destination surface.

[0051] Each of the plurality of projections 20 tapers towards its distal end 22. More specifically, each of the plurality of projections 20 has an outer surface 23 that is oblique to the first plane Pi. In the illustrated embodiment, the outer surface 23 is planar, but in variations to the illustrated embodiment the outer surface 23 may be non-planar. For example, the outer surface 23 may be concave, convex, undulating, or provided with one or more depressions therein or protrusions therefrom. In further variations to the illustrated embodiment the distal ends 22 of the projections 20 may taper in a different manner to that illustrated. The distal ends 22 of the projections 20 may taper to a point, be conical, be frusto-conical, or be convexly-shaped. While not essential to the invention, the tapered form of the projections 20 better allows the projections 20 to comply with the intended destination surface and makes application of the fluid onto an intended destination surface of a body of a user a comfortable experience for the user.

[0052] In the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 comprises a plurality of projections 20. The projections 20 are spaced apart, so that gaps are provided between adjacent projections 20. Accordingly, during use of the applicator 1 to apply a fluid to an intended destination surface, some of the fluid passes from the retaining region R to the intended destination surface via the gaps, thereby improving spreading of the fluid on the intended destination surface. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 may comprise a plurality of projections 20 with adjacent projections 20 abutting each other so that the projections 20 are not spaced apart and no gaps are provided between adjacent projections 20. Such an arrangement provides for better retention of dispensed fluid in the retaining region R, yet still provides a degree of spreading of fluid. In other variations to the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 may comprise a projection that surrounds the outlet 34. That is, only a single projection 20 may surround the outlet 34. Such an arrangement provides for still better retention of dispensed fluid in the retaining region R. [0053] In other variations to the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 may comprise a projection 20 in the form of a wiper that is elongate along the exterior surface 12. The wiper may be any one of linear, non-linear, curved, angular and wavy. Preferably the wiper is flexible and resilient. It is believed that such a wiper results in improved spreading of a fluid held in the retaining region R onto the intended destination surface.

[0054] In the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 comprises ten projections 20. In other embodiments, the applicator 1 may comprises more than ten projections 20 extending from the exterior surface 12 of the base 10, or may comprise fewer than ten projections 20 extending from the exterior surface 12 of the base 10, such as only eight, only six, only four, or only two projections 20. In still further variations to the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 comprises only one projection 20 extending from the exterior surface 12 of the base 10 adjacent the outlet 34. That is, the number of projections 20 extending from the exterior surface 12 of the base 10 may be only a single one. The single projection 20 may take the form of any of the above-described projections 20.

[0055] Figure 3 shows a fluid dispenser 100 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and comprising the applicator 1 of Figures 1 and 2. The fluid dispenser 100 comprises a housing 2 having an internal reservoir (not shown) for containing a fluid for dispensing by the fluid dispenser 100, and the applicator 1 connected to the housing 2. In the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 and the housing 2 are separate components (i.e. are non- unitary) that are connected together through mating of the female thread 15 of the applicator 1 and a male thread (not shown) of the housing 2. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 and the housing 2 may be affixed together by one of adhesion, welding and a mechanical connection, such as a friction fit, a snap fit, a bayonet connection, or one or more clips. In other variations to the illustrated embodiment, the applicator 1 is unitary with the housing 2. That is, the applicator 1 and the housing 2 are a single piece.

[0056] The valve 30 of the applicator 1 is for selectively blocking a passageway (not shown) that is in fluid communication with the internal reservoir of the housing 2. Thus, the internal reservoir of the housing 2 is in fluid communication with the hollow interior 11 of the applicator 1, which in turn is in fluid communication with the valve 30. When the outlet 34 of the valve 30 is opened, the internal reservoir of the housing 2 is placed in fluid communication with an exterior of the fluid dispenser 100 via the passageway, the hollow interior 11 and the outlet 34, in that order.

[0057] In the illustrated embodiment, the housing 2 is squeezable by a user to reduce a volume of the internal reservoir of the housing 2. Such a reduction in the volume of the internal reservoir of the housing 2 increases the pressure in the internal reservoir of the housing 2, and thus in the hollow interior 11 of the applicator 1 with which the internal reservoir is in fluid communication. When the pressure in the internal reservoir of the housing 2, and thus in the hollow interior 11 of the applicator 1 , exceeds a predetermined threshold pressure, fluid is forced from the internal reservoir of the housing 2 through the hollow interior 11 of the applicator 1 and out through the outlet 34 to the retaining region R.

[0058] In a variation to the illustrated embodiment, the fluid dispenser 100 comprises a dispenser mechanism for moving fluid present in the internal reservoir of the housing 2 towards the outlet 34 via the hollow interior 11 of the applicator 1. In such a variation, the housing 2 need not be squeezable by a user. Any known suitable dispenser mechanism may be used, such as a mechanism comprising a piston follower engaged with a screw, a mechanism comprising a piston mounted on a ratchet, or a mechanism comprising a pump for introducing fluid into the internal reservoir of the housing 2 preferably via a check valve.

[0059] Although the fluid is contained in the internal reservoir in the illustrated embodiment, in variations to the illustrated embodiment the fluid dispenser 100 may be supplied with the internal reservoir free of fluid and fillable with fluid after purchase. The fluid preferably is a liquid.

[0060] In the illustrated embodiment, the fluid contained in the internal reservoir is a personal care fluid, and more specifically an oral care fluid. 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.

[0061] In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the fluid may be a personal care fluid other than an oral care fluid, such as a skin care fluid, a hair care fluid, or a nail care fluid.

[0062] Figure 4 shows a system 1000 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and comprising the fluid dispenser 100 of Figure 3. In this embodiment, the system is an oral care system 1000 comprising the fluid dispenser 100 and a personal care implement, more specifically an oral care implement in the form of a toothbrush 200.

[0063] A body 2000 of the toothbrush 200 has a proximal end 2001 and a distal end 2002 and is elongate between the proximal and distal ends 2001, 2002. The body 2000 comprises a handle 2010 and the head 2020 at a distal end of the handle 2010. The head 2020 is a distal portion of the body 2000 and has a proximal end and a distal end, which distal end forms the distal end 2002 of the body 2000. The head 2020 has extending therefrom the oral care elements 2030 for cleaning or polishing surfaces in a user's mouth, such as surfaces of their teeth.

[0064] 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 2030 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. [0065] The handle 2010 is a proximal portion of the body 2000 and has the distal end and a proximal end, which proximal end forms the proximal end 2001 of the body 2000. The handle 2010 includes a neck portion 2118 by which the handle 2010 is connected with the head 2020. The neck portion 2118 is generally of a smaller cross sectional area than the rest of the handle 2010. The neck portion 2118 includes the distal end of the handle 2010, which is that portion of the handle 2010 fixed to and closest to the proximal end of the head 2020. In the illustrated embodiment, the head 2020 is non-detachable from the handle 2010. However, in variations to the illustrated embodiment, the head 2020 may be detachable from the handle 2010, such as for replacement of the head 2010 when the oral care elements 2030 become worn.

[0066] The handle 2010 provides a user with a mechanism by which he/she can readily grip and manipulate the toothbrush 200, 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.

[0067] The fluid dispenser 100 is detachably connectable to the toothbrush 200. More specifically, the toothbrush 200 has a cavity (not shown) therein, and the fluid dispenser 100 is sized and shaped to be received in the cavity. In the illustrated embodiment, the cavity is in the handle 2010 and the fluid dispenser 100 is received in the cavity via an opening (not shown) in the proximal end of the handle 2010. The system 1000 comprises a retaining mechanism, of any known suitable form, for retaining the fluid dispenser 100 in the cavity. In variations to the illustrated embodiment, the cavity may be provided elsewhere in the body 2000 than in the handle 2010. In other embodiments, there may not be a cavity in the toothbrush 200, and the fluid dispenser 100 may be detachably connectable to an exterior of the toothbrush 200.

[0068] In further variations to the illustrated embodiment, 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. In still further variations to the illustrated embodiment, the personal care implement could instead comprise other forms of personal care implement, such as a razor, a shaver, or a brush, such as a hair brush.