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Prof. Murray Thomson

Professor W. Murray Thomson is a dental researcher and specialist in dental public health, based at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. His work in the renowned Dunedin Study has enhanced understanding of oral health through life. He is an expert on dry mouth and has developed widely used measures for use in clinical practice and research. He has also made important contributions to understanding of the oral health of the ageing population, and of the effectiveness of dental care in improving the lives of children and their families. To date, he has published 416 research papers and 5 book chapters, and his Scopus h index is 56. Now Editor-in-Chief of Gerodontology, he was the Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology Editor-in-Chief from 2015 to 2021. He is also Associate Editor for the European Journal of Oral Sciences. He was Editor of the New Zealand Dental Journal from 2007 to 2014.

Title: Research into ageing and oral health: some findings from New Zealand


Research into the oral health of older people has burgeoned over the last couple of decades, spurred by increases in both tooth retention and the older population. Any consideration of oral health and ageing should acknowledge the fact that the chronic conditions of old age do not suddenly manifest themselves; rather, they have involved decades of subclinical organ system decline associated with biological ageing. Thus, the pace at which someone ages is a critical determinant of their health in old age. In this presentation, I will share some findings from NZ on the pace of ageing and on the oral health of older people, underlining the need for caution in interpreting associations observed in old age between aspects of oral and general health (most notably cognitive decline). 

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