UK Markets close in 8 hrs 25 mins

Foreo issa 3 toothbrush review: Can this £149 toothbrush put a smile on our face?

·6-min read
We didn’t need to be a dentist to tell that this nifty device cleaned up well when testing on our sensitive gum areas (iStock/The Independent)
We didn’t need to be a dentist to tell that this nifty device cleaned up well when testing on our sensitive gum areas (iStock/The Independent)

Toothbrushes have evolved beyond all recognition, whether it’s ones with sonic brush strokes which clean our teeth with two million vibrations a second (OK, we’re exaggerating, you get the gist) or brushes with more modes than you can shake a toothpick at.

This is precisely why we were keen to try out the new issa 3 toothbrush from Foreo, a Swedish brand that jumped into the spotlight with the luna cleanser (a vibrating silicone facial massager). Since launching the luna, Foreo has sashayed into the world of oral hygiene, with the brand’s USP being a toothbrush with silicone bristles that can clean gums, tongue and cheeks as well as teeth.

Foreo claim these bristles, which offer 11,000 sonic vibrations a minute, make their toothbrush more ergonomic by letting you deep clean tricky areas while reducing the risk of over-brushing, thanks to the ultra-soft silicone.

However, we’d like to point out that the silicone bristles are only on the outside of the brush – the ones in the middle are made of thermoplastic, similar to those found on the average toothbrush.

How we tested

“How didn’t we test this?” would be a more suitable question. Our testing period took place shortly before and after root canal surgery, which meant we were able to fully check out how well it worked on more sensitive areas, as well as during periods when we were able to crank up the brushing power. We even used it on a flight.

Read more:

As testers with a slight oral hygiene obsession, we never take a flight of more than three hours without packing a toothbrush, so stashing this one in our carry-on allowed us to see how it performed during a mid-air toothbrushing session when we were especially keen on a toothbrush which stowed away neatly and didn’t alert the entire cabin to the fact that a passenger is using some kind of unidentified buzzing device during their visit to the toilet.

Foreo ISSA 3 toothbrush

Buy now £149, Lookfantastic.com

Design

One of the first things we noticed was its lightness – the entire brush weighs just 63g. Our current toothbrush – an electric one produced by one of the most popular electric toothbrush brands – weighs a hefty 100g. The other thing we noticed is the bristle pattern. The silicone bristles which surround the thermoplastic ones don’t just encircle them, but extend down the handle, resulting in the largest bristle coverage area we’ve come across, with the idea being that this will help reach areas other brushes don’t reach.

The silicone bristles were firmer than we expected but still have plenty of give. The ones in the centre seem firmer – similar to those on a medium-firm toothbrush. We also loved the way it felt in the hand – it’s coated in smooth, soft rubber and is a sheer delight to hold. We’re huge fans of Foreo’s luna cleanser, and if you’re familiar with it you’ll know what we mean – there’s a wonderful smoothness, but still more than enough grip.

Another feature we liked? The ridged back on the brush head. It’s often tricky to get a grip on toothbrush heads when removing them to stow for travel or to be replaced, especially when they’re wet or covered in that seemingly unavoidable build-up of toothpaste slime. However, these ridges made it wonderfully easy to simply pop the head off for easy storage.

Controls-wise, there’s a simple on/off button, either side of which is a plus and minus symbol. The buttons take the form of pressure pads, rather than protruding controls, which boost the streamlined design and mean fewer areas for water to sneak into.

Read more: Philips 5100 vs Fairywill pro P11: Is a cheaper sonic brush better?

A white outline on the back indicates a tiny rubber flap that lifts up to reveal a charging port. Plug in the cable provided and a white light at the base will flash on and off to tell you it’s charging. When it’s fully charged, which took less than 30 minutes, the light stops flashing and stays on.

Performance

The first thing we noticed is the noise – or lack of it. It’s incredibly quiet and we found ourselves questioning why we’ve got used to the brain-shaking clatter associated with most electric toothbrushes. Put it this way: when this toothbrush is turned on, if you’re further than a metre away you’re unlikely to hear it. The other thing we noticed immediately was that, because the outer rim of silicone bristles are part of the silicone head itself, we instantly felt like there was less space between the bristles and the part of the brush they were attached to which, to be clear, is a good thing. It meant we could reach areas other toothbrushes struggle to reach and we were able to brush with more precision too.

Features we’d previously not paid much attention to proved useful as well. For example, given the brush’s monochrome colourway and the inset buttons, the lack of an audible click when changing the brush’s speed means that there aren’t the usual indicators that we’d successfully changed the speed – in this case, by pressing the brush’s plus and minus controls. Instead, this is indicated by the flashing of white light on the base of the issa 3 – a brilliant way of confirming speed changes without impacting the sleek, slimline look.

Read more: 8 best toothpastes for every concern

We were also surprised by how easy it was to use the different bristles on different areas. By simply tilting the brush by a fraction of a single degree, we could ensure small areas (we’d recently had root canal treatment, so had a precise area that needed handling with care) were only cleaned with the softer silicone bristles. The thermoplastic bristles in the centre are perfect for a deeper clean, although even this approach is obviously customisable, thanks to the 16 speed settings you can scroll through.

The verdict: Foreo issa 3

We can honestly say that our teeth have never felt cleaner – and the same goes for our gums and tongue too. The Foreo issa 3 gets bonus points for us not having experienced any sensitivity when we brushed. While most toothbrushes just rely on different levels of bristle firmness using the same material, the combination of different types of bristles and the ability to increase the speed by tiny amounts makes for a game-changing tooth cleaning experience that meant we could reach areas we’ve probably inadvertently neglected in the past. If that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, we’re stumped.

Buy now £149.00, Lookfantastic.com

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on electric toothbrushes and other tech products, try our discount code pages below:

Now you can be sure your not-so-little one's teeth are getting a thorough clean with the Oral-B teen – here’s our review

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting