As a parent, I want to look after my daughter’s teeth. But she doesn’t always make it easy. Whether the toothpaste is too minty or the bristles too ticklish, making sure we manage to brush for the recommended two minutes can be a challenge.
And I’m not alone. In fact, it’s so difficult chore that almost a quarter of five-year-olds have had tooth decay, according to statistics from Public Health England (opens in new tab). Adding an electric toothbrush to our morning and nighttime routine has really encouraged her to brush for longer thanks to buzzes and in this case a light-up smiley face as motivational tools. And, because the head moves, it gives me more confidence that we’re cleaning those hard-to-reach areas.
It comes as no surprise that kids’ electric toothbrushes are different from adults because the heads are smaller and softer, but they’re not all created equal. Check our guide to the best children's electric toothbrush for our pick of the bunch.
Of course, when you’re choosing one for your child there are a lot of things to consider, such as picking a brush that’s age-appropriate and has the added features you want - which could be anything from a timer to an app – and whether you want an oscillating or sonic head. Many studies have proven that electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual brushing, but there is no clear leader when it comes to the type of technology. Foreo’s ISSA uses sonic technology to vibrate at a high frequency to reach the tiny gaps between teeth.
Foreo Issa kids review: Design
The first thing you notice about the Foreo Issa brush is its silicone body in one colour. Our brush is bright turquoise, but it also comes in pink, purple and yellow. Designed for children aged five to 12, we love the plain design, without any stickers or movie themes, which means we can keep it for years.
The silicone material covers almost everything – including the one, simple on/off button and extends all the way over the head so that the outer bristles are silicone too. It’s streamlined and colourful and feels super smooth and pleasing. Foreo says the use of silicone makes it 'the most hygienic toothbrush ever'. While this is a hard claim to test at home, it does make it really easy to clean and toothpaste doesn’t get stuck between the silicone bristles as easily as it does between nylon ones.
One of the big reasons that this is a five-star toothbrush is the head. The mixture of silicone and nylon does a great job of cleaning teeth and most importantly, the head is shallow, which really matters when you’re trying to reach molars in a small mouth.
Then, there’s a neat little light-up smiley face that lights up after a full 2 minutes of brushing. This discrete little feature is a great one, and there’s no need for an app or any other gadget - it’s all beneath the silicone skin.
Foreo Issa kids review: Features
Of course, the cleaning power of any toothbrush is key, and we’ll elaborate later, but the main takeaway is that the combination of silicone bristles and high-tech sonic pulsations make this toothbrush different from the rest. The result is a gentler clean than oscillating brushes, for example, and a quieter one too. So, if your child is very sensitive to noise, this is an important feature.
The toothbrush’s minimalistic design hides plenty of useful features, not least a hidden motivational aid to help kids complete a full two-minute clean. The Issa kids brush pulsates every 30 seconds to tell you it’s time to move to another part of the mouth, or simply keep brushing, and at the end of two minutes, Glee’s happy face lights up on the body of the brush. At first, I thought this was a bit of a gimmick, but it’s been a huge motivator for my daughter who wants to see ‘Glee’ and not ‘Glum’ – a sad face that appears if kids stop brushing before their 2-minute goal is up. Glum will also appear when the brush has not been used in over twelve hours. This is something we haven’t experienced because my daughter is super excited to use the brush, which flashes in the morning.
As we’ve mentioned, the silicone body is a really appealing feature. It looks and feels great and is of course completely waterproof, which makes it easy to clean and able to survive being dropped into the bath and so on.
When it comes to charging, this brush is the best out there. Incredibly, just one hour’s charge is said to last for 265 uses. Unsurprisingly, we haven’t been able to put this to the test with two weeks of use, but it’s lovely being able to throw it in a wash bag for the weekend without having to pack a cord or plug. It’s also handy because the brush is recharged via a USB lead, which again, is useful for travelling. The only downside is that when a brush lasts so long, it might be hard to find every time it’s needed – approximately three or four times a year!
Foreo Issa kids review: Cleaning and performance
It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: how the brush cleans. As we’ve mentioned, this brush is a little different because it has silicone bristles as well as nylon ones. Designed to be used in sweeping motions like a normal toothbrush, Foreo says it removes 30% more plaque than manual toothbrushes and improves overall oral hygiene by 140%.
In fact, it claims the Issa kids toothbrush repels over 10,000 times more bacteria than toothbrushes with purely nylon bristles. As you can imagine, these claims are impossible to test at home. However, my daughter’s teeth do look clean and I’ve noticed that, unlike manual toothbrushes, toothpaste isn’t as easily trapped among the silicone bristles, so it seems possible that bacteria may be easier to flush out after brushing too.
But, one thing that is certain is that she loves using it. This is partly due to ‘Glee’ and the fact that the brush will ‘walk’ along the bathroom shelf if you switch it on, but who cares? The fact is, she’s keen to brush her teeth more regularly and for longer, which (probably) means they are cleaner. So, performance-wise, that has to be a great result.
Foreo Issa kids review: Verdict
It will come as no surprise that the Issa kids electric toothbrush is a big hit and easily earns five stars and earns a place in our best kids electric toothbrush guide. From the build quality and soft silicone, to its neat motivational smiley face and soft, sonic bristles, this brush has it all in a really neat and compact package.
Add a super long-last lasting battery into the mix and it’s easy to see why this brush packs a punch. The only downside is the price, because it is quite pricey for a kid’s toothbrush. However, the quality means this is a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ and because of its minimalistic but cheery design, your child shouldn’t grow out of it … until they need one of the best electric toothbrushes for adults when they reach 12-years-old.