Properties of essences
Balsamic sweets are among confectionery's classics: filled by essence or extracts, they release a refreshing and healthy flavour. An effect that is also provided by chewing-gums, which can contain aromatic ingredients in both the gum and coating.
Mint – Refreshing and digestive, it stimulates both the gastric and the bilious secretion.
Eucalyptus – It has an antiseptic effect on the respiratory system, and also has antibacterial, anti-viral, balsamic, expectorant and fever-reducing properties. The extract is particularly used to contrast infections of the respiratory system – like cold and bronchitis – and has a soothing effect on cough.
Citrus fruits – Lemon's essential oil has useful antiseptic properties in the healing of bronchitis and mouth infections. Moreover, it also acts on the formation of endogenous cholesterol – produced by our organism – slowing down its synthesis.
Anise – Green anise's essential oil helps digestion and, at the same time, has an antiseptic and antispasmodic action on the intestine.
Pine – Pine scent is associated with the essential oil extracted from buds: traditional medicine consider them extremely useful against many respiratory system's inflammations.
Properties of licorice
Licorice's therapeutical potential derive from many active principles: among them, the most important one is glycyrrhizin. Licorice's concentrated juice has many properties: it protects the stomach (with anti-inflammatory and vulnerary effects on the gastric and duodenal mucosa), strengthens the immune defense system (useful during chronic inflammatory processes), rules our organism's salinic balance and makes low pressure rise.
Furthermore, licorice consumed as candies or chewing-gum has an antibacterial action, since it arrests the development of both microorganisms and caries.
In recent years, the production of sugar-free candies and chewing-gums has been the confectionery industry's most significant trend. At first, the idea was launched mainly for diet purposes, but it has subsequently evolved into a true form of dental health protection. Research in this field has always been particularly active, thus identifying many substitutes for sugar.
Fructose - It was the first among alternative sugars. It is industrially obtained from sugar or from flours – like maize flour – and has the same calorie power of saccharose (4 per gram), but is sweeter – namely 1,7 times sweeter than sugar itself.
It follows that, in order to have the same sweetening effect of saccharose, a lower quantity is needed.
The polyols' family – Polyols' success derives from the fact than they cause potentially less caries than sugars – but excessive dosage may have laxative effects. Hence the law obligation to insert the phrase “excessive consumption may produce laxative effects” on the labels of all those products containing polyols.
Maltitol – Derived from maltose, it tastes sweet, just like sugar. Maltitol is non-cariogenic, and can be consumed by diabetics, too; it is particularly suitable for gummy candies, and its calorie power is 2,4 kcal per gram (lesser than the sugar's one, 4 kcal per gram).
Isomalt – Crystal-white coloured, Isomalt is obtained from saccharose, and brings about 2 kcal per gram. Being less sweet than sugar, it is used in combination with intensive sweeteners.
It is non-cariogenic and suitable for diabetics, and it's generally used in the production of hard candies, sugared almonds and coated chewing-gums.
Sorbitol - Available in many fruits and berries, it is industrially obtained from glucose. It has a low cariogenic power, while its sweetening power is half the one of saccharose, bringing 2,4 calorie per gram. It is used in association with intensive sweeteners.
Mannitol – It is industrially obtained from fructose, too. Mannitol has a lower sweetening power than sugar, since it supplies only 1,6/2 kcal per gram. Once more, the sweet taste of both candies and chewing-gums is emphasized by the combination with intensive sweeteners.
Xylitol – This natural, low-calorie sweetener of vegetable origin, has the same sweetening power as sugar. In chewing-gums, xylitol isn't fermented by the bacteria of the oral cavity, thus preventing acids from corroding dental enamel. Moreover, its antibacterial action hinders the growing of Streptococcus Mutans, a microorganism responsible for the formation of caries.
Positive effects on teeth
If sugar-free candies guarantee a lower calorie intake and don't stick to teeth, sugar-free chewing-gums bring even greater advantages. After meals and snacks, when it's not possible to use the toothbrush, chewing-gums help in keeping our teeth clean. In facts, chewing actually stimulates salivation, whose cleansing action helps in removing food remains – and more of the same for the mechanical action of chewing-gums.