Sweetener is the generic term for all sweetening substances. There are three different categories:
This group includes not only sucrose (table sugar) but also monosaccharides like fructose and glucose, and disaccharides such as lactose. Sugars are not always added in pure form to foods. Sugar-containing foods such as honey and fruit juice concentrate may also be used for this purpose.
Currently there are only two toothfriendly sugars: isomaltulose and tagatose. These two disaccharides are by definition sugars, yet they are toothfriendly. Isomaltulose and tagatose are particularly suited for the production of toothfriendly chocolate and caramels.
2. Sugar substitutes
These are primarily sugar alcohols (polyols) such as sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, maltitol and lactitol. They are gentle on teeth and suitable for diabetics. Polyols also have a reduced energy value. Sugar substitutes are bulk sweeteners and which can replace sugar in the ratio of 1:1. However, most polyols are not as sweet as sugar. Read more about sugar substitutes here.
3. Intense sweeteners
Intense sweeteners are only used in small doses due to their high sweetness intensity. Intense sweeteners are virtually calorie-free. They are often used in combinations for better taste. In toothfriendly confectionery, they may be used to adjust the sweeteness of polyols to a sucrose-like level. Read more about intense sweeteners here.