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Health Sciences profile

Professor Murray Thomson

PositionProfessor of Dental Epidemiology and Public Health
DepartmentDepartment of Oral Sciences
QualificationsBSc BDS MComDent(Otago) MA(Leeds) PhD(Adel)
Research summaryDental epidemiology, dental public health, and health services research
TeachingCoordinator of the MComDent programme and DENT 363
Memberships
  • International Association for Dental Research (including the Geriatric Oral Research Group, the Behavioural, Epidemiology and Health Services Research Group, and the Global Oral Health Inequalities Research Network)
  • New Zealand Association of Gerontology
  • New Zealand Society for Hospital and Community Dentistry
  • Health Coalition Aotearoa
  • New Zealand Dental Association
  • Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Fellow of the International College of Dentists
  • Fellow of the Academy of Dentistry International
ClinicalDry mouth, self-reported oral health and quality of life

Research

Professor Thomson has made contributions in a number of domains, and he has published 420 papers to date in the peer-reviewed international scientific literature. Perhaps his contribution to new knowledge is most evident through his involvement in the Dunedin Multidsicplinary Health and Development Study. That work has generated unprecedented information on the natural history of oral conditions from childhood to midlife.

Professor Thomson has also made seminal contributions to measuring dry mouth, and to understanding the condition’s occurrence, natural history and antecedents. He solved the polypharmacy problem which had impeded investigations of medication-induced dry mouth.

Professor Thomson has made crucially important contributions to the development, testing and field use of instruments for measuring oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in children, as well as to understanding of the determinants of OHRQoL in adults. He has made important contributions to knowledge of the oral health of older people. Thomson’s national oral health survey work in Australasia has been internationally influential; he has added considerable value by conducting secondary analyses and publishing papers on a wide range of topics, including a number of cross-national comparisons (with colleagues in the USA, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Canada and China) which have enhanced understanding of adult oral health.

Professor Thomson was included as one of the top contributors to dental public health research in the last half century in a 2016 bibliometric analysis (doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12249), and his work features in a 2021 overview of the 100 most cited papers in dental public health journals (doi/epdf/10.1111/cdoe.12572). Thomson has provided many years of service as an Editor-in-Chief for international scientific journals.

Additional details

Professor Thomson has the rare honour of two separate Distinguished Scientist Awards from the IADR (International Association for Dental Research): the 2010 H. Trendley Dean Memorial Award, for meritorious research in epidemiology and public health, and the 2014 Geriatric Oral Research Award. He is the first NZ-based scientist to have been honoured by the IADR.

In 2017, Thomson was in the team awarded the 2016 Prime Minister’s Science Prize, which went to 10 Principal Investigators in the Dunedin Study. In 2019, he was awarded the Chaffer Medal (for distinguished performance in health research) by the Otago Medical Postgraduate Society. In 2010, he received the Sir John Walsh Research Award (for research over an extended period by a member of the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry). In 2009, he was awarded the Alan Docking Award for distinguished research in dentistry by the Australia-NZ Division of the IADR. In 2015, he was made a Fellow of the NZ Dental Association.

He is Editor-in-Chief of Gerodontology (published by John Wiley and Sons). He was Editor-in-Chief (2015-2021) of Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 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. He has served terms on various Editorial Advisory Boards. He was President of the IADR’s Geriatric Oral Research Group in 2012-13.

Publications

Thomson, W. M., Poulton, R., Broadbent, J. M., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Beck, J. D., Welch, D., & Hancox, R. J. (2008). Cannabis smoking and periodontal disease among young adults. JAMA, 299(5), 525-531.

Thomson, W. M., Williams, S. M., Broadbent, J. M., Poulton, R., & Locker, D. (2010). Long-term dental visiting patterns and adult oral health. Journal of Dental Research, 89(3), 307-311. doi: 10.1177/0022034509356779

Broadbent, J. M., Thomson, W. M., & Poulton, R. (2008). Trajectory patterns of dental caries experience in the permanent dentition to the fourth decade of life. Journal of Dental Research, 87(1), 69-72.

Thomson, W. M., Broadbent, J. M., Locker, D., & Poulton, R. (2009). Trajectories of dental anxiety in a birth cohort. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 37(3), 209-219. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2009.00473.x

Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., … Poulton, R., … Thomson, W. M., & Caspi, A. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. PNAS, 108(7), 2693-2698. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1010076108

Thomson, W. M., Poulton, R., Broadbent, J. M., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Beck, J. D., Welch, D., & Hancox, R. J. (2008). Cannabis smoking and periodontal disease among young adults. JAMA, 299(5), 525-531.

Journal - Research Article

Thomson, W. M., Williams, S. M., Broadbent, J. M., Poulton, R., & Locker, D. (2010). Long-term dental visiting patterns and adult oral health. Journal of Dental Research, 89(3), 307-311. doi: 10.1177/0022034509356779

Journal - Research Article

Broadbent, J. M., Thomson, W. M., & Poulton, R. (2008). Trajectory patterns of dental caries experience in the permanent dentition to the fourth decade of life. Journal of Dental Research, 87(1), 69-72.

Journal - Research Article

Thomson, W. M., Broadbent, J. M., Locker, D., & Poulton, R. (2009). Trajectories of dental anxiety in a birth cohort. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 37(3), 209-219. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2009.00473.x

Journal - Research Article

Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., … Poulton, R., … Thomson, W. M., & Caspi, A. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. PNAS, 108(7), 2693-2698. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1010076108

Journal - Research Article

Thomson, W. M., & Malden, P. E. (2011). Assessing change in the family impact of caries in young children after treatment under general anaesthesia. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, 69, 257-262. doi: 10.3109/00016357.2011.554862

Journal - Research Article

Broadbent, J. M., Thomson, W. M., Boyens, J. V., & Poulton, R. (2011). Dental plaque and oral health during the first 32 years of life. Journal of the American Dental Association, 142(4), 415-426.

Journal - Research Article

Crocombe, L. A., Broadbent, J. M., Thomson, W. M., Brennan, D. S., Slade, G. D., & Poulton, R. (2011). Dental visiting trajectory patterns and their antecedents. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 71(1), 23-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2010.00196.x

Journal - Research Article

Shearer, D. M., Thomson, W. M., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Broadbent, J. M., & Poulton, R. (2011). Inter-generational continuity in periodontal health: Findings from the Dunedin Family History Study. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 38(4), 301-309. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01704.x

Journal - Research Article

Shearer, D. M., Thomson, W. M., Broadbent, J. M., & Poulton, R. (2011). Maternal oral health predicts their children's caries experience in adulthood. Journal of Dental Research, 90(5), 672-677. doi: 10.1177/0022034510393349

Journal - Research Article

Thomson, W. M., van der Putten, G.-J., de Baat, C., Ikebe, K., Matsuda, K.-I., Enoki, K., … Ling, G. Y. (2011). Shortening the Xerostomia Inventory. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, & Endodontology, 112(3), 322-327. doi: 10.1016/j.tripleo.2011.03.024

Journal - Research Article

Mohamed, A. R., Thomson, W. M., & Mackay, T. D. (2010). An epidemiological comparison of Dean's index and the Developmental Defects of Enamel (DDE) index. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 70(4), 344-347. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2010.00186.x

Journal - Research Article

Shearer, D. M., & Thomson, W. M. (2010). Intergenerational continuity in oral health: A review. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 38, 479-486. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2010.00560.x

Journal - Research Article

Sussex, P. V., Thomson, W. M., & Fitzgerald, R. P. (2010). Understanding the 'epidemic' of complete tooth loss among older New Zealanders. Gerodontology, 27(2), 85-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2009.00306.x

Journal - Research Article

Fairhall, T. J., Thomson, W. M., Kieser, J. A., Broughton, J. R., Cullinan, M. P., & Seymour, G. J. (2009). Home or away? Differences between home- and clinic-based dental examinations for older people. Gerodontology, 26(3), 179-186. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2008.00263.x

Journal - Research Article

Pearce, M. S., Thomson, W. M., Walls, A. W. G., & Steele, J. G. (2009). Lifecourse socio-economic mobility and oral health in middle age. Journal of Dental Research, 88(10), 938-941. doi: 10.1177/0022034509344524

Journal - Research Article

Gowda, S., Thomson, W. M., Foster Page, L. A., & Croucher, N. A. (2009). What difference does using bitewing radiographs make to epidemiological estimates of dental caries prevalence and severity in a young adolescent population with high caries experience? Caries Research, 43(6), 436-441. doi: 10.1159/000252977

Journal - Research Article

Malden, P. E., Thomson, W. M., Jokovic, A., & Locker, D. (2008). Changes in parent-assessed oral health-related quality of life among young children following dental treatment under general anaesthetic. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 36(2), 108-117.

Journal - Research Article

Foster Page, L. A., Thomson, W. M., Jokovic, A., & Locker, D. (2008). Epidemiological evaluation of short-form versions of the Child Perception Questionnaire. European Journal of Oral Sciences, 116(6), 538-544.

Journal - Research Article

Odgers, C. L., Moffitt, T. E., Broadbent, J. M., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., Poulton, R., … Thomson, W. M., & Caspi, A. (2008). Female and male antisocial trajectories: From childhood origins to adult outcomes. Development & Psychopathology, 20(2), 673-716. doi: 10.1017/S0954579408000333

Journal - Research Article

Lawrence, H. P., Thomson, W. M., Broadbent, J. M., & Poulton, R. (2008). Oral health-related quality of life in a birth cohort of 32-year olds. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 36(4), 305-316. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2007.00395.x

Journal - Research Article

Thomson, W. M., Poulton, R., Hancox, R. J., Ryan, K. M., & Al-Kubaisy, S. (2007). Changes in medication use from age 26 to 32 in a representative birth cohort. Internal Medicine Journal, 37, 543-549.

Journal - Research Article

Thomson, W. M., Broadbent, J. M., Welch, D., Beck, J. D., & Poulton, R. (2007). Cigarette smoking and periodontal disease among 32-year-olds: A prospective study of a representative birth cohort. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 34, 828-834.

Journal - Research Article

Nicolau, B., Thomson, W. M., Steele, J. G., & Allison, P. J. (2007). Life-course epidemiology: concepts and theoretical models and its relevance to chronic oral conditions. Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology, 35, 241-249.

Journal - Research Article

Thomson, W. M., Broadbent, J. M., Foster Page, L. A., & Poulton, R. (2013). Antecedents and associations of root surface caries experience among 38-year-olds. Caries Research, 47(2), 128-134. doi: 10.1159/000345078

Journal - Research Article

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