Foreo have just extended their unique range of all-silicone electric toothbrushes to offer a baby-friendly option. Introducing the Foreo Issa Mikro, an extravagant brushing solution for the mini-miracle in your life.
Unboxing the Foreo Issa Mikro
Your brand new Issa Mikro toothbrush will arrive in a clear plastic packaging. While the container itself looks every bit as sleek as the toothbrush, it just isn’t very practical. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
To open the packaging you need to peel a sticker off the top and bottom of the packaging before prying it in half. Those of you with long nails wont find this too hard but I cut mine short and had to resort to aggressively cutting at the sticker with a knife.
When you finally manage to pry open the plastic case you will find the following items waiting for you inside:
Let’s break it down:
- Foreo Issa Mikro
- USB charging cable
- Authenticity card
On the rear of the Authenticity card is a 14 digit number that you can use to register your Mikro Toothbrush online. By doing so you will be able to take advantage of Foreos Generous 2-year limited warranty and 10-year quality guanrentee.
You will also find an instruction manual in the box, forming part of the display. Perhaps calling it an instruction manual is a little bit generous since it is particularly light on information.
But perhaps most annoying is that Foreo have chosen to use the smallest font they can possibly print out. Now I don’t know about you but my eyes are not all that great at the best if times and found myself struggling to read along.
How small is the font? Well here you can see that an individual bristle on the Foreo Issa Mikro brush head is larger than most of the words in the user manual.
Understandably you are going to want to store your Foreo Issa Mikro away when it is not in use. After all, you are going to want to keep the electric toothbrush clean and hygienic since it will be spending a lot fo time in your babies mouth.
You may be wondering as to whether or not you can use the plastic case that the Foreo Issa is packaged in to store it?
The answer is:
Yes, but it’s not really practical.
There are two problems with using the packaging:
1. It is difficult to open – You have to awkwardly press at the sides of the case to open it before levering the lid off the bottom section that holds the toothbrush. Yeah, good luck doing that while holding a wiggly baby with your other hand.
2. It smears easily – Whether it’s your own toothpaste covered hands or your baby’s drool covered fingers, the case marks too easily. While clear plastic may be a great choice to showcase the toothbrush inside it is a nightmare to keep clean.
I know Foreo prides themselves on their design but it feels like the case was a hugely missed opportunity.
Foreo Issa Mikro Colors
The Foreo Issa Mikro is available in a range of colors. Unsurprisingly, the bright pastel color choices are much more kid friendly than you will find on the Adult Foreo Issa Toothbrush.
You can be stereotypical and choose pink for your baby girl or blue for your baby boy. Or go with something completely different. No need to overthink it, they are just colors.
From left to right:
- Kiwi (never seen a kiwi this color)
- Sunflower yellow
- Pearl Pink
- Bubble Blue
The photos in this review are of the Bubble Blue Issa Mikro.
Examining the Foreo Issa Mikro
The Foreo Issa Mikro is has been designed with babies in mind. This becomes immediately apparent when you compare it side by side with the Adult model:
Most noticeable is the size. Foreo has shrunk the ISSA down right down to make it easy to grip.
Now this must have been a balancing act on Foreos part. Not only must the electric toothbrush be small enough for your baby to hold in his delicate little hands but also allow you to comfortably hold the toothbrush while brushing your little ones teeth for him.
I feel that Foreo has managed to succeed on this part. Between me, my much larger handed husband and my baby, we were all able to satisfactorily hold the Issa Mikro.
If you glance at the ISSA Mikro you will notice that it is one complete unit. The brush head cannot be removed and it’s a good thing too, since it would be a potential choking hazard for your baby.
So how do you replace the Foreo Issa Mikro brush head. The short answer is – you can’t.
According to Foreo’s statement from their Indigogo campaign:
Because of its completely encased, one-piece design and hygienic silicone material, you never have to purchase a replacement brush head for the ISSA mikro.
Now this is in stark contrast to the Adult and Kid versions of the Foreo ISSA that recommends you change the silicone brush head yearly.
Given that the baby-friendly Mikro is made from the same silicone, something doesn’t add up here. Either Foreo is recommending the replacement heads on the other ISSA toothbrushes get changed far sooner than necessary or the Mikro only has a usable life of a year before it needs to be discarded.
We have contacted Foreo for clarification but did not receive a reply.
Edit: We have since received a reply from Foreo. The representative claimed “The Issa Mikro is for children up to 4 years old. The toothbrush should last until this age.” However we still have strong doubts that this toothbrush will last four years, especially given our experience with the other toothbrushes int he Foreo range.
The brush head is made up of 69 silicone bristles:
And this is what makes the Mikro unlike any other electirc toothbrush on the market, it’s thick and soft silicone bristles. The bristles are capable of pulsating at 6,000 times per minute and can be used with your any infant-formulated soothing gell or toothpaste recommended by your dentist.
The brush head is small enough to comfortably fit inside your baby’s mouth while offering enough surface area to effectively scrub at your babies teeth, however few he may have.
Thanks to being 100% waterproof you will be able to use your Issa Mikro while your little baby baths or showers.
Moving down the handle you will come across a circular indentation in what is otherwise a perfectly smooth handle:
The Power button performs two functions. Not only does it turn the Issa Mikro on and off but also controls the speed at which the toothbrush bristles vibrate.
The power button works as follows:
- Push the button once – On/High speed
- Push the button twice – Low speed
- Push the button a third time – Off
While there are not visible with the power off, hidden either side of the power button is a happy and sad face indicator:
Foreo calls these the “Smile indicators”. After brushing for the recommended 2 minutes a happy face will appear. If your baby has not used the brush in over 12 hours then a sad face will appear.
The idea behind these two indicators is to help promote good brushing habits using visual cues.
At the base of the handle you will find a clear plastic section:
Hidden inside the plastic piece is an LED light that turns on each time you press the power button. The LED light also comes on when charging the electric toothbrush but I will cover that in more detail in the next section.
Now, I actually have a big gripe with this plastic piece. It’s quite hard and while it looks round, it is finished flat and the edge is pointed. Hard and pointed. Not a good combination on a product that claims it’s for ages 0+
Needless to say this becomes a weapon when swung around by an uncoordinated baby. My baby, caught up in the excitement of brushing his teeth has hit me in the head twice and even managed to give himself a good knock. Oh yeah, it bruises.
I understand that by keeping the plastic base, the Issa Mikro has a similar look to the rest of the electric toothbrushes in Foreo’s range. But I can’t help but feel an entirely silicone covered Mikro would be much more baby-safe given that this plastic section doesn’t really add anything of value to the overall toothbrush.
Flipping the electric toothbrush over reveals a rather plain looking rear:
There is nothing of note on the rear of the Mikro except for a small socket that you use to charge the electric toothbrush. I will take a closer look at this in the next section:
Charging the Foreo Issa Mikro
The thing about electric toothbrushes is that they run on electricity. In order to use your brand new Foreo Issa Mikro you are going to have to charge it.
Fortunately Foreo has made charging the Mikro an incredibly simple process.
To charge the Mikro you will need to find the charging socket, located on the rear of the handle:
The charging socket is covered by a silicone plug. The plug helps keep the entire ISSA Mikro watertight.
If you look closely you will see that the plug has a small bump for you to grab. When I say grab I mean pick at with your fingernail. The small size of the plug makes it somewhat difficult to open and close, particularly if you cut your fingernails short.
After somewhat of a struggle you will be able to peel the plug back, revealing the charging socket:
Now opening the charging socket cover is much more fiddly than you would like at least you won’t be opening the socket too often thanks to the Foreo Issa’s incredibly battery life.
In fact a one hour charge is all it takes and the Mikro is good to go for up to 480 uses. That is not a typo. Brushing twice daily this should get you through two thirds of the year before needing to recharge. Impressive.
I liked that the ISSA Mikro uses a USB charging cable. But to use it you will need to plug it into an adapter or computer or TV. Foreo does not include a USB adapter in the box.
Most of us will have a spare USB adapter lying around from an old phone so this won’t be too much of an issue. But if you are in a unique situation where you do not have a USB power source on hand you will have to spend the extra cash in order to use your new electric toothbrush.
It is also worth mentioning that the charging cable is surprisingly short. Just under 20” in fact and won’t be long enough to stretch from most bathroom electrical outlets to the counter.
Simply plug the USB charging cable into the socket and the Mikro will begin to charge. The plastic section on the base of the toothbrush will flash through the entire charging process. Once the toothbrush has finished charging the light will turn off.
Testing the Foreo ISSA Mikro
As the only Mom on the review team it was my job to give the ISSA Mikro a good testing. But I didn’t do it alone. Five other moms joined taking the Foreo Issa Mikro for a test-drive. The following contains summaries of their experience.
Now Foreo claims that the Mikro is suitable for those aged 0-4.
If your baby has no teeth then this makes a great gum massager for your little one, if you’re into that. However for the fraction of the price you can pick up the Baby Banana training brush, it may not be electric but it is an amazing teething/gumming toy.
However, the Mikro should not be used as a teething toy.
One of our testers learned this the hard way. When your baby becomes attached to an object that stops him being a horrible teething monster it’s hard to say no. So the use of the Mikro extended past brushing time and was used as a teething toy.
Nor should it be used for biters. One of the tester’s babies had a habit of biting his toothbrush during brushing time. The soft and fun feeling silicone is almost encouraging to be bitten. Within two weeks of use there was noticeable wear on the rear of the toothbrush head, the babies sharp teeth had began to tear at the silicone exterior.
Now this would be less of a problem if the Mikro used replacement brush heads. However, a big problem with the ISSA is that once it breaks the entire toothbrush must be discarded. And that’s a pretty costly investment just to throw it in the trash.
In terms of cleanliness, the silicone bristles Mikro did not appear to work as well as a traditional bristled brush. Even with the rapid vibrations the thicker silicone bristles did not appear to remove as much plaque.
This was particularly noticeable on kids with a full set of teeth. The thicker bristles did not clean as well as traditional bristles between the teeth.
In fact, the thicker bristles seemed to work best on infants whose teeth were still coming through. The wide spacing between teeth allowed even the chunky bristles to satisfactorily clean around the teeth.
Let’s face it, the Foreo ISSA Mikro is perhaps the best toothbrush you will come across for the 0-2 age group. Any older and conventional bristles are a better option.
But that comes at a cost. And for a product that may only last a year it will be unjustifiably expensive for many families.