This initiative arose out of concerns about the future of the dental profession: A proud past, a questionable present and a challenging future. Several participants were invited to contribute papers to address this issue. Unfortunately, during the preparatory period, a few individuals fell seriously ill and were therefore unable to participate. More devastatingly, several died before the meeting was convened. These included Bernie Guggenheim, Per Brandtzaeg and Aubrey Sheiham.
This book is dedicated to their memory and to the immense contributions they each made to critical thinking about health.
Eventually six of us met: Lois Cohen (USA), Gunnar Dahlen (Sweden), Alfonso Escobar (Colombia), Ole Fejerskov (Denmark), Newell Johnson (Australia) and Firoze Manji (Kenya).
To set the context for the views expressed by each of the contributors, we asked each to prepare papers in which to describe their backgrounds and the development of their careers, including identifying those people who had made an impact on their own way of thinking. We asked each to provide an overview of the oral health situation over the past 50 years in their country or region. We also asked participants how their own research work had influenced the way in which they viewed the development of the oral health profession and reflect on the future of the profession.
The papers were circulated in advance of the meeting at La Cascada and were discussed in detail during the 3-day meeting. The La Cascada Declaration was a product of these discussions.
Here we present the La Cascada Declaration together with each of the papers. These papers were produced to stimulate discussions within the group and are shared here in this publication. These papers are not intended to provide the documentary evidence that backs up the Declaration as extensive reviews are already available in the literature. The main purpose of this Declaration is to open a public debate on the state of dentistry rather than merely an academic debate amongst the dental profession.
We invite you to share your thoughts and comments in reaction to each paper and to the publication. You will be able to do so online as well as by writing to us.