Previous findings concerning gastric atrophy as a potential risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) have been inconsistent. We aimed to test whether gastric atrophy and, further, its interaction with poor oral health elevated the risk of ESCC in a high-risk region of China. Our population-based case-control study in Taixing, China (2010-2014), recruited cases from local hospitals and the local cancer registry. Controls were selected randomly from the local population registry. Ultimately, 1,210 cases and 1,978 controls answered questionnaires and provided blood samples for assay of pepsinogens. Unconditional logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Gastric atrophy (defined as a serum level of pepsinogen I of <55 μg/L) was associated with an increased risk for ESCC (odds ratio = 1.61; 95% confidence interval: 1.33, 1.96), even after full adjustment for potential confounding factors. In addition, suggestion of an additive interaction between gastric atrophy and poor oral health was observed (relative excess risk due to interaction = 1.28, 95% confidence interval: 0.39, 2.18). We conclude that gastric atrophy appears to be a risk factor for ESCC in a high-risk region of China, and there is a suggested additive interaction with poor oral health that increases this risk even further. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.