The aim of this review is to discuss what is known about the reflex control of the human masticatory system by the periodontal mechanoreceptors and to put forward a method for standardised investigation. To deliver mechanical stimulus in a reproducible way, the following precautions are suggested: the stimulus should be brought into secure contact with the area of stimulation, and slack between the probe and the area to be stimulated should be taken up by the application of a preload. It is also important to ensure that there is minimal simultaneous activation of receptor systems other than the periodontal mechanoreceptors. It is also necessary to standardise the method for recording and analysing the response. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.