Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection is widely recognized as a risk factor for gastric cancer, but only a minority of infected individuals develop gastric cancer. The aim of this study was to determine whether DNA demethylation in non-cancerous gastric mucosa (NGM) significantly enhances susceptibility to gastric cancer. A total of 165 healthy volunteers, including 83 HP-positive and 82-negative individuals, as well as 83 patients with single and 18 with synchronous double gastric cancer (GC) were enrolled in this study. The relative demethylation levels (RDLs) of repetitive sequences, including Alu, LINE-1 and Sat α, were quantified by real-time methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. The Alu RDL did not exhibit any differences within each respective group, whereas LINE-1 RDL was significantly elevated in cancer tissues compared with the NGM in the other groups (P<0.001). Our results indicated that a gradual increase in Sat α RDL correlated with HP infection and cancer development. Sat α RDL was significantly elevated in the NGM in HP-positive compared with HP-negative (P<0.001), and significantly elevated in cancer tissues (P<0.001). Although the Sat α RDL of the NGM in the total population increased in an age-dependent manner, it was significantly increased in a fraction of younger GC patients (<45 years) compared with all of the others (45 years or older, P=0.0391). In addition, double GC exhibited a significantly higher Sat α RDL in the NGM compared with single GC (P=0.0014). In these two fractions, Sat α RDL in the NGM exhibited an inverse correlation with age. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that the accumulation of DNA demethylation in Sat α RDL in the NGM with HP infection potentially renders susceptibility to gastric cancer in a fraction of GC patients younger than 45 years or in patients with multiple cancers.