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Junior Soccer Research Project

It is well known that the periodontal ligaments have a postural influence. In particular the upper first permanent molars have periodontal ligaments that are highly innervated by proprioceptors. The periodontal ligaments of the upper first permanent molars play a big part in the neurological balance of the muscular and postural systems. This study examines the correlation between the upper first molars with orthodontic retainers and the tendency to sports injury susceptibility. We would expect the tendency to sports injury susceptibility to be closely related to balance and spatial awareness of the entire body.

Orthodontic retainers

The researchers would expect any orthodontic appliance that puts the teeth in a position that is not in harmony with the muscles of the body to have an effect throughout the body. We know that the teeth are not in harmony after orthodontic treatment because the teeth require retainers to hold them in position. If they are in harmony, no retention would be needed. All orthodontic appliances will have this effect to a certain extent.


The neurological afferent stimuli from the forced position of the periodontal ligaments may have a major impact on the developing performance of young soccer players. Orthodontic retainers on the teeth have a major influence on the periodontal ligament. This structure is very important in the entire stomatognathic system.

The periodontal ligament is composed of fibres, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, nerves and some cellular elements. It anchors the tooth through the cementum to the bone, the alveolar tissue and the other teeth. When force is applied to the tooth, the periodontal fibres act as a shock absorber.

Perry (1957) states that dental occlusion is exceptionally guided by neurological information to the final dental intercuspation. The periodontal ligament has these basic functions: support, nutrition and sensory feedback. A tooth should be able to move freely within the socket to protect these functions. The neurological function receives the greatest consideration in this study. The nerve receptors of the periodontal ligament are nociceptors and proprioceptors.

The proprioceptive system is known to be of major important in the body’s adaptive mechanism for posture, locomotion, etc. Proprioception from the teeth, muscles and the temporomandibular joints contributes afferent supply to the motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve and also to the higher centres to moderate conscious control (Walther, 1983). So permanent orthodontic retention causes continuous proprioceptive stimulation of the periodontal ligament.


Could this fixation be interpreted as a risk factor to the stomatognathic system itself, and even compromise the entire postural and movement system of the body? Could this be particularly important in the developing performance of junior soccer players? Conversely, any improvement in posture will automatically result in change of tooth position. Another one of the objectives of the study is to examine the interplay of these important body parts to provide science-based information for a comprehensive diagnosis that can lead to appropriate therapy.


Duration of the project
2015 – 2018

Head of the research project
Dr. Arnold Goedhart (Head of the SIL Research Department)

Prof. dr. Luc Vanden Bossche MD PhD, Univerity of Ghent (B) Faculty Physical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine

Contact for this study
Henny Solleveld PhD
Phone 0031 (0) 35 646 99 59

Study in collaboration with the University of Ghent (B), Prof. dr. Luc Vanden Bossche and THIM International College for Physiotherapy (NL)

To be examined

  1. The impact of orthodontic retention in the upper jaw on the musculoskeletal and occlusopostural system
  2. The interrelationship between orthodontic retention in the upper jaw and human performance
  3. The interrelationship between orthodontic retention in the upper jaw and injury susceptibility
  4. The benefits of myofunctional retainers

Objectives will be measured by the plantar activity by the RS-scan Footplate as well as the MC wireless measure system of TMJBMC¹.

Classification research population
60 Junior soccer players with orthodontic retainers in the upper jaw and (B) 60 junior soccer players without orthodontic retainers in the upper jaw.

Subjects in the test group will be selected from promising soccer players of professional clubs. The criteria for inclusion are:

  1. Between 13 and 17 years of age
  2. In good general and dental health
  3. No history of surgery to the nasal, paranasal or oral cavities
  4. No allergies, nasal decongestant medication or history of nasal obstruction