British people over the age of 50 lose an average of 12 teeth out of 32.

 

And for many, the thought of wearing dentures is difficult to swallow.

 

Researchers at Kings College London say scientific advances mean that one day people could grow their own replacement teeth.

 

Paul Sharpe, head of division of Craniofacial Biology and Biomaterials at the Dental Institute at King's College, says scientists used their knowledge of how teeth develop in the embryo to produce cells that could be transplanted into the mouth.

 

Transplant

 

The transplant develops into a tooth, just as it would in the embryo.

 

The research has been tested successfully on mice, and scientists hope to begin trials on humans in the next two years.

 

Sharpe's team has recently been awarded $885,000 to continue their research.

 

So far, they've successfully grown molars - the large grinding teeth at the back of the mouth - but incisors and canines are proving more difficult.

 

It reportedly takes two months for a tooth to fully develop.

 

The technology could be available to the public within the next five years.