The FOREO ISSA* may just look like a fancy electric toothbrush, but take a second look, and you’ll notice some pretty unique features that you just don’t see on ordinary electric toothbrushes. I’m talking about the silicone brush head (wait, no bristles?!), large surface area, and adjustable sonic pulses – all of which supposedly help this brush to ‘clean and whiten your teeth like never before’.
At first, I was a bit skeptical of the ISSA’s cleaning abilities, and was even more curious how it would compare to my current toothbrush: the Oral B Pro 500. Now that I’ve tested it out for the past 3 weeks (including both brush heads – the original ISSA all-silicone brush head and the new ISSA Hybrid brush head), I wanted to share my thoughts and overall review. But first, let’s dig into what makes this toothbrush so unique.
How Does the FOREO ISSA Work?
The FOREO ISSA electric toothbrush uses ‘Sonic Pulse Technology’ which can channel up-to 11,000 high-intensity pulsations per minute depending on the setting you choose. These pulsations create ‘micro-sweeps’ that gently yet effectively clean the teeth and gums, as well as whiten by removing stains. Meanwhile, the 3D flexible brush head helps you reach every part of the mouth.
The soft, flexible silicone bristles that make up the brush head are designed to be extremely gentle on tooth enamel, so they won’t scratch or damage it. They also give the gums a gentle massage without the risk of over-brushing or causing damage to the gum tissue.
The quick-drying, non-porous silicone on the brush head supposedly resists bacteria buildup, making the ISSA electric toothbrush ultra-hygienic. In fact, it’s said to carry up to 10,000x less bacteria than toothbrushes with bristles!
Finally, the ISSA design is completely waterproof, so you can use it in the bath or shower.
Depending on your sensitively level and personal preferences, there are two different brush heads to choose from – the original, all-silicone ISSA and the ISSA Hybrid with the added PBT polymer bristles. Let’s start by looking at the original, since it’s what spurred the creation of the ISSA Hybrid further down the road.
Original, All-Silicone FOREO ISSA Brush Head
The FOREO ISSA electric toothbrush initially came with one option – an all-silicone brush head – which was created to gently massage and clean your teeth and gums. After using it for several days, I did find it to be incredibly gentle, maybe too gentle – my teeth just weren’t feeling as polished as I expected.
And apparently I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. Word is that quite a lot of people were underwhelmed by the original all-silicone brush, so FOREO designed and released a new brush head that provides a deeper, more robust cleaning. Enter the FOREO ISSA Hybrid Brush Head.
New FOREO ISSA Hybrid Brush Head
FOREO’s new ISSA Hybrid brush features the same gentle silicone bristles, only now they’ve been combined with the deeper, more vigorous cleaning power of more traditional bristles to help combat heavier plaque buildup. The ISSA Hybrid brush heads also happen to be cheaper – coming in at $19.95 for 1 brush head versus $24.90 for the original ISSA.
My FOREO ISSA Review
After having tried and fallen in love with FOREO’s silicon-based skincare products (both the LUNA and the LUNA 2), I was excited to see just how well the FOREO ISSA cleaned my teeth, and also how it stood up against my Oral B electric toothbrush.
I started with the original ISSA brush head, which, as I mentioned, is very gentle. It can take some time to get used to, especially when you’re used to the feeling of harder, more traditional bristles on your teeth. Unfortunately, after my first test, I ran my tongue over my teeth and they just didn’t feel 100% clean, particularly in the areas close to the gums and in-between the teeth.
Then I switched to the ISSA Hybrid brush head, and that made all the difference – the bristles definitely work a bit harder than the silicone when it comes to cleaning the surface of your teeth. It provides a more thorough cleaning – one you can feel.
FOREO ISSA (left) vs. ISSA Hybrid (right) brush heads
After three weeks of using the ISSA Hybrid, I started to notice some of the advantages it has over my standard electric toothbrush. First off, it has a long brush head that covers half of my bottom and top rows of teeth, so it’s spending more time touching, and hence cleaning the teeth during the 2-minute session. I also noticed that it does an amazing job at keeping my teeth white between whitening treatments by removing light coffee and tea stains. And when it comes to cleaning the tongue, the ISSA is the perfect size and shape, making the process super quick and easy.
Best of all, the ISSA Hybrid keeps my somewhat sensitive gums looking and feeling healthy, with no bleeding or inflammation whatsoever.
One disadvantage however, is that due to the larger shape and lack of 360 movement, it doesn’t clean in-between the teeth as well as the Oral B electric toothbrush, so you do need to floss a bit more often.
How Does the FOREO ISSA Compare to the ORAL B Electric Toothbrush?
Since switching from my Oral B electric toothbrush to the FOREO ISSA Hybrid, I noticed some definite pros and cons for each. Here’s are my overall thoughts:
FOREO ISSA Hybrid Pros & Cons
- Very gentle on gums
- Multiple speed settings (from gentle, to more intense cleaning)
- Large brush surface area that covers more surface area at one time (about half my bottom/top rows!)
- 365 uses on one charge (!!!)
- Silicon areas on the brush head resist bacteria
- Very lightweight, comfortable, and ergonomic design
- Quiet with very muted vibration noises
- Comes with a 2-year limited warranty, and 10-year quality guarantee
- Need to replace brush heads less frequently (i.e. only once a year) (brush heads cost $19.99/each, totaling to $19.99 total cost to maintain the device for a year)
- Cleaning power isn’t as thorough and intense as other electric toothbrushes
- Doesn’t get in-between the teeth (brush head doesn’t rotate for 360 cleaning)
- $199 initial investment
Oral-B Electric Toothbrush Pros & Cons
- Provides a very thorough cleaning
- Rotating brush head removes plaque in between the teeth, creating a sort of ‘flossing action’
- Only a $40 initial investment
- Fairly rough on the gums (mine bled with the first couple of uses)
- Only one speed setting (not great for sensitive gums if you want to adjust levels to something gentler)
- Provides only ~20-30 uses on one charge
- Very noisy
- Large and clunky design
- Need to replace brush heads every 3-4 months (costing about $20 total to maintain device over a year)
- Need to buy a new device once the battery dies (every 3-5 years)
Overall, if you’re thinking about investing in an electric toothbrush, the FOREO ISSA has some definite advantages over other regular electric toothbrushes on the market, particularly its large brush size, extremely gentle, bacteria-resistant silicone outer-layer, and quiet, ergonomic (and attractive!) design. And now with its upgraded ISSA Hybrid brush head, it makes for a great investment if you’re looking for a gentle alternative to the standard electric toothbrushes on the market (especially for those with sensitive gums!).
You can find the FOREO ISSA and the Hybrid brush heads at b-glowing.com – my favorite online shop when it comes to luxury beauty. They feature some amazing brands (including a number of natural beauty brands), a 30 day ‘Happiness Guaranteed’ return policy, plus free samples with every order.
Have you tried any FOREO products before? What do you think about the idea of using a silicone toothbrush?
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